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Our impact 2022/23

We work with secondary schools, colleges, and employers to improve careers education and help every young person take their next best step.

Our Impact Stages

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Our Impact Stages Modal Our Impact Stages

1. Supporting and challenging schools, colleges and employers

We work with secondary schools and colleges in England and have extended our reach over time. Most schools and colleges are now voluntarily working with us through accessing training for Careers Leaders, being members of Careers Hubs, partnering with business volunteers and using our Compass/Compass+ digital tools. External evaluations of Careers Leader training, Careers Hubs and the wider network have established the positive impact of these interventions over time.  

As we reach full coverage of our support to schools, colleges and employers, we are increasingly focusing attention on driving up quality in the system. We have two new strategic approaches: 

  • Careers Impact System (CIS), a framework which assures quality in the careers system using peer-to-peer reviews administered regionally at scale, expert review samples enacted through central coordination and national thematic reviews which interrogate priorities at a whole system level. 
  • Employer Standards, a framework to support employers of all sizes to provide quality careers outreach to schools, colleges and young people.  

CEC analysis of sub-benchmark data indicates that 96% of students in 4,354 schools and colleges received at least one employer encounter last year.   


Impact Charts Careers Leaders, Compass +

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Impact Charts Careers Leaders, Compass + Modal Impact Charts Careers Leaders, Compass +


2. Improving provision, closing gaps

The closer schools and colleges work with us, the faster reported provision improves (as judged by the Gatsby Benchmarks, which define what world class careers provision in education should look like).

Schools and colleges who have been in Careers Hubs for longer achieve a higher number of benchmarks compared to those who don’t engage, with those in Careers Hubs for the longest achieving 6 benchmarks on average. Those that joined in 2022 significantly outperform those not in a hub (4.8 to 3.2). This suggests new joiners to Careers Hubs benefit quickly, taking around three years to achieve top performance levels, and longer-term membership maintains good performance against the Gatsby Benchmarks. Our evidence shows that institutions in a hub who have a trained Careers Leader also perform significantly better than those without (5.7 v 5.3).

Average number of Gatsby Benchmarks achieved by all schools and colleges between 2018/19 and 2022/23, compared to those not engaged with CEC (based on Gatsby Benchmark data, end of July 2023.

Our Impact Average Benchmarks

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Our Impact Average Benchmarks Modal Our Impact Average Benchmarks

Source: Analysis of Compass data, end of July 2023

For more detailed information about progress against the Gatsby Benchmarks in 2022/23, see our latest Insight briefing and Compass data.

We work closely with schools serving the most disadvantaged young people. Sustained engagement of mainstream schools across the board has meant that careers education is strongest for schools with the highest proportion of young people eligible for Free School Meals.

% mainstream schools engaging with the careers system according to level of disadvantage (Quartiles based on % mainstream school pupils eligible for Free School Meals, end July 2023)

1793 Impact Page Charts 2024 04

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1793 Impact Page Charts 2024 04 Modal 1793 Impact Page Charts 2024 04

Source: Full achievement of Gatsby Benchmarks by mainstream schools only, end of July 2023

As a result, careers education is strengthening in schools serving the most disadvantaged young people.

Increase in average number of Gatsby Benchmarks achieved by mainstream schools 2018/19-2022/23 (Quartiles based on % pupils eligible for Free School Meals, end July 2023)

Our Impact Mainstream

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Our Impact Mainstream Modal Our Impact Mainstream

Source: Analysis of Compass data, end of July 2023

3. Delivering better outcomes for young people 

The more benchmarks a school meets, the more likely young people are to be in a sustained destination post-16. This is particularly true for young people eligible for Free School Meals. Better Gatsby Benchmark provision is also associated with higher apprenticeship uptake.

Evidence from the 2017/18 school leavers show that, in schools serving the most disadvantaged cohorts, each benchmark met led to a 2.8% reduction in the proportion of young people not in a sustained destination after Year 11. This equates to a 20.1% decline where all benchmarks were met. The resulting decline would save the Exchequer £150m per year. Our latest technical note confirms the relationship between good career provision and sustained destinations.

Careers provision in schools is helping young people become more ready for the future as they get older. During the 2022/23 academic year, 104,505 young people responded to the Future Skills Questionnaire and reported:

Young people’s career readiness responses in schools 2022/23


Year 7 (N=27,875)

Year 11 (N=11,238)

Overall career readiness score*



Knows what skills employers need



Understands apprenticeships vs A levels

39% vs 45%

80% vs 85%

Has thought about which pathway might be right for them



Has a plan for next step



*Average proportion of career knowledge and skills questions answered positively by students.

Source: Year 7 and 11 student responses to the Future Skills Questionnaire (collected through Compass+) during the 2022/23 academic year.

Employers are seeing the benefits of engaging in careers education. Analysis of the first 342 employers’ self-assessments against the Employer Standards demonstrated: 

  • 86% of employers say their work in schools and colleges is supporting more young people to take up careers in their industry (91% for Cornerstone Employers). 
  • 83% of employers say it is helping them to develop new talent pipelines (91% for Cornerstone Employers). 
  • 78% say it is encouraging young people to apply for roles in their business (86% for Cornerstone Employers).
  • 75% say it is bringing in new apprentices (82% for Cornerstone Employers).

Our survey of our Enterprise Adviser business volunteers indicates:

  • Nearly four in five (78%) agreed that Enterprise Adviser programme is a cost-effective way to improve business engagement with schools and colleges.
  • Four-fifths (79%) would recommend the role to someone else.

For more information about the evidence base for our impact, please read our submission to the Education Select Committee Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance

Our latest report, Careers Education 2022/23: Now & next, sets out the clearest picture of the careers education system to date, showing the growing evidence of progress in England.

Our Impact in 2021/22

Our latest report

Careers Education 2022/23: Now & next sets out the clearest picture of the careers education system to date, showing the growing evidence of progress in England.

View the findings