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Rating Universities on Employability: QS Stars

By Staff Writer

Updated February 18, 2021 Updated February 18, 2021

The QS Stars university rating system gives universities a rating for graduate employability - an indication of students' future career prospects. How is this measured?

When thinking about what university you want to attend, and what course you want to take, it’s more than likely that the issue of employment will have crossed your mind. After all, it’s the very reason that many people go to university in the first place.

Therefore before applying to a university, it is useful to see how well its graduates tend to fare in terms of finding work, particularly in a job market which is still reeling from the effects of the economic crisis.

The graduate employability section of QS Stars measures this, allowing you to identify universities which are good at preparing their students for the challenges of finding work.

There are three criteria used to measure this:

Recruiter review (50 points)

The recruiter review is a survey in which global employers identify the universities that are producing the most highly skilled graduates. It therefore goes without saying that if you go to a university that scores well in this regard, your CV is more likely to end up in the shortlist pile.

Employers speak from experience, and the recruiter review provides a unique insight into the quality of a university’s graduates, as well as giving an insight into the relative outcomes of different universities’ teaching methods.

Like the academic peer endorsement measure, the data for this criterion is drawn from the QS World University Rankings®, in which it accounts for 5% a university’s standing. Maximum points are awarded for 50 employer endorsements.


Campus employer presence (30 points)

Employer presence on campus is vital in ensuring that students are surrounded by business and industry contacts, to make use of while studying while also setting them up for job-seeking after graduation. Institutions are awarded top points in this category if 200 distinct companies (or a number equivalent to 1% of the school’s full-time student population) are present at campus events within a recent 12-month period. For an institution of 10,000 students to be awarded full points, it would require the campus presence of 100 employing companies.

Graduate employability (50 points)

Perhaps the most obvious way to assess how good a university is at propelling its graduates from the campus to the workplace is to see how many of its current crop of graduates managed to find work after graduating – and that what this measure looks at.

However, not everyone wants to go into work straight away, so we’ve excluded from this measure those who aren’t seeking employment – a category consisting mostly of those who choose to continue their studies. If over 90% of job-seeking graduates are in work within 12 months, maximum points are awarded, with points awarded on a scale down to 50%.

Careers support service (50 points)

A lot of the things a university does to help their graduates find work are abstract and hard to pin down. There are more concrete ways, however, in which they can help their graduates find work, and one of them is by employing members of staff specifically for this purpose.
These advisory staff can prove invaluable in helping graduates find work, and their presence is indicative of a university’s appreciation of its responsibility to help its students find work after graduation.

For maximum points, we ask that they employ 10 full-time advisors with a score scaled down to 2, or at least one full-time advisor per thousand students, or 25 full-time staff working on employability across the institution.

This article was originally published in November 2012 . It was last updated in February 2021

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