IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


'First in the family': higher education choices and labour market outcomes

10 July 2019, 1:30 pm–3:00 pm

Man walking into university. Image: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via Pexels

The policy discussion about ‘widening participation’ (WP) in UK higher education (HE) has expanded beyond traditional socioeconomic gaps to identifying ‘first in the family to attend university’ students as a specific form of disadvantage.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Jade Hunter, Senior Access Officer (Research)


1-19 Torrington Place

‘First in Family’ (FiF) refers to students who attend university (and obtain a degree), but whose mother and father did not. Fifteen of the 24 Russell Group universities explicitly target these individuals in their WP campaigns, although little is known about their characteristics.

This seminar will present the first results from a study on FiF students, including how they compare to their peers who are not FiF students. This project is the first large-scale research study on FiF in England.

The research by Anna Adamecz-Volgyi, Morag Henderson and Nikki Shure explores to what extent FiF is a useful indicator for widening participation, that is, how well it proxies existing measures of disadvantage. Discussion will then explore the decisions FiF students make in terms of HE institution, subject choice and non-completion as compared to their non-FiF peers at university. Furthermore, how being FiF affects labour market outcomes, including probability of employment and whether earnings differ by FiF status, is investigated.

Open to all, this seminar provides a space for debate and analysis. It forms the second research seminar in the Social Mobility and Access to Higher Education series, organised by the UCL Access and Widening Participation team.


About the Speakers

Dr Morag Henderson

at Department of Social Science, UCL Institute of Education (IOE)

Dr Morag Henderson is a quantitative sociologist and co-investigator of Next Steps, an English longitudinal study. Her main research interest is educational inequalities and she has written extensively on the socio-economic attainment gap; the influence of subject choice on subsequent educational and labour market outcomes; school type and widening participation in higher education.

More about Dr Morag Henderson

Dr Nikki Shure

at Department of Social Science, UCL Institute of Education (IOE)

Dr Nikki Shure is a Lecturer in Economics (Assistant Professor) in the IOE Department of Social Science and a Research Affiliate at the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA). Her research interests include the effects of childcare on maternal labour supply, non-cognitive skills and educational outcomes, gender and ambition, international comparisons of education systems, and inequalities in access to higher education and the labour market.

More about Dr Nikki Shure