Five of the Best Universities for Employability | Top Universities

Five of the Best Universities for Employability

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Laura Bridgestock

Updated Mar 05, 2016



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When choosing a university, one thing you may consider is how well rated it is by employers – and it’s certainly true that there are some university names that will instantly get your résumé a second look. It’s also true that the institutions employers rate highest are not always the same as those at the top of overall university rankings.

How do we know? Well, because one of the ingredients that goes into making the QS World University Rankings is a huge global survey of graduate employers, asking them to identify the institutions they prefer to recruit from. (See the full methodology here.)

To an extent, the results of this survey do reflect the overall order of the rankings – after all, who wouldn’t want to recruit graduates from big names like MIT and Cambridge?

However, closer analysis shows that certain institutions receive a significantly higher rating from employers than they end up with once other factors, such as academic reputation and research citations, are combined.

Here we highlight five universities around the world that would actually rank much higher if the QS World University Rankings had been based solely on employers’ opinions.

1. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK

Overall ranking: 69Employer ranking: 4

Specializing in social sciences subjects, LSE is at a slight disadvantage overall when it comes to competing with larger and more comprehensive institutions – but it seems employers do place a very strong value on its leadership in a specific field. Other specialist institutions, such as the business-focused HEC Paris, Bocconi and ESSEC, also score very well in the employer survey, but don’t appear in the overall QS World University Rankings, as they don’t cover a broad enough range of subjects to qualify.

2. University of California, Berkeley, US

Overall ranking: 22
Employer ranking: 8

Ok, so hardly a surprise that Berkeley graduates are high on employers’ wish lists. The university is among the world’s best known, and actually ranks even higher in the global academic survey than the employer one. However, it’s certainly made strong relationships with graduate recruiters a priority, and was ahead of the curve in terms of schemes such as building internships into courses, and developing online careers and recruitment services for both students and employers.

3. University of Melbourne, Australia

Overall ranking: 36Employer ranking: 9

Though not quite Australia’s highest ranking overall (that title goes to Australian National University), Melbourne does seem to be the nation’s top choice among employers. The university’s strong emphasis on preparing students for future careers is reflected in its range of ‘Pathway Options’. These combine an undergraduate degree with a master’s level professional qualification, preparing students for careers ranging from urban planning to speech pathology.

4. National University of Singapore, Singapore

Overall ranking: 25
Employer ranking: 14

Not quite Asia’s highest ranking overall (though it may soon be, if it keeps climbing!), NUS would be the region’s number one based on the employer survey. Another institution with a very strong global reputation among both academics and employers, NUS’s slightly lower overall ranking is due to lower scores for research citations and faculty-student ratio. However, both improved significantly in the 2012 ranking, so it seems the university’s overall position may soon come into line with academic and employer opinion.

5. Tsinghua University, China

Overall ranking: 48Employer ranking: 17

In the overall ranking, Tsinghua is not mainland China’s top entry (though it’s only four places behind Peking University) but in the employer survey, it does come out on top. Like NUS, Tsinghua’s strongest scores are the two for reputation; the quantitative indicators – research citations, staff-student ratio and international diversity of staff and students – are currently holding it back from attaining a higher position overall.