QS Graduate Employability Rankings – Methodology | Top Universities

QS Graduate Employability Rankings – Methodology

By Staff Writer

Updated April 14, 2021 Updated April 14, 2021

The QS Graduate Employability Rankings is an annual ranking of universities around the world, celebrating institutions which are committed to and effective in preparing students for the workplace. First published as a pilot edition in 2015, the ranking now features 300 institutions, providing the world’s students with a unique tool by which to compare university performance in this area. Each institution’s total score is compiled based on the following five indicators. 


Employer reputation (30%)

Employer reputation is measured using a global survey, in which graduate employers are asked to identify the institutions producing the best graduates in their field. For the 2017 edition of the ranking, the opinions of over 37,000 employers were considered.

Alumni outcomes (20%)

To assess alumni outcomes, QS has sourced the alma maters of those included in 61 lists of highly successful individuals, each measuring desirable outcomes in a particular walk of life. In total, QS analyzed the educational pathways of 21,000 of the world’s most innovative, creative, wealthy, entrepreneurial, and/or philanthropic individuals, to establish which universities are producing world-changing graduates. To acknowledge the fact that many of these lists are produced by research and media outlets based in the US and UK, a weighting formula has been applied that lends extra weight to ‘international’ submissions.

Employer partnerships (25%)

This indicator combines two components to assess institutions’ engagement with industry partners in research and other areas. First, it considers the number of distinct global companies collaborating with each institution in at least three research papers indexed by Scopus. Employment-related partnerships not related to research are also considered. Second, scores are adjusted in proportion to the number of faculty members employed. The 2017 edition of the ranking considers university collaborations with 2,000 top global companies – four times as many as in the pilot edition.

Employer-student connections (15%)

This indicator involves summing the number of employers who are actively present on a university’s campus, providing motivated students with an opportunity to network and acquire information. Employer presence also increases the opportunity of students achieving career-launching internships and research opportunities. This ‘active presence’ may take the form of participating in careers fairs, organizing company presentations, or any other self-promoting activities.

Graduate employment rate (10%)

This indicator is the simplest, but essential for any understanding of how successful universities are at nurturing employability. It involves measuring the proportion of graduates (excluding those opting to pursue further study or unavailable to work) in full- or part-time employment within 12 months of graduation. The scores in this category are calculated by considering the difference between each institution’s employment rate and the national average. This accounts for the fact that a university’s ability to foster employability will be affected by the economic performance of the country in which it is situated.

The results are published in an interactive online table, which can be sorted by each of the five indicators listed above. To access the full functionality of the results table, including the option to view direct comparisons of specific universities, you first need to log in or register as a site member (completely free).

This article was originally published in November 2016 . It was last updated in April 2021

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