What to Expect from the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2018 | Top Universities

What to Expect from the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2018

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Craig OCallaghan

Updated Sep 07, 2017



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On September 12, the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2018 is released. Now featuring 500 universities, this ranking gets to the heart of one of the most important questions for all students: will I get my dream job after university?

With tuition fees rising in many countries, it’s more important now than ever that going to university has a career benefit. Sure, three or four years spent partying and socializing has its appeals, but it’s no longer enough to justify the cost and effort of going to university, which is why the Graduate Employability ranking is so important.

Last year, Stanford University took the inaugural crown (a pilot version of the ranking was also released in 2016) with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tsinghua University breathing down its neck in second and third respectively. Will it still be the best in the world this year? Here are some of the things to look out for in this year’s ranking.

Changes to the methodology

This year, a slight change to the weighting of the five different indicators used to assess universities has occurred. Alumni outcomes now carries a weighting of 25%, an increase from last year, ensuring more prominence is given to universities that have produced successful alumni. The dataset used to create this indicator has also been increased by 40%, ensuring it’s more thorough than last year.

To accommodate this increased focus on alumni outcomes, the weighting for employer-student connections has been reduced from 15 to 10%. This indicator counts the number of individual employers who have been actively present on a university’s campus over the last 12 months, at careers fairs and other events.

The other three indicators used for the ranking remain unchanged. They are: employer reputation, partnership with employers per faculty and graduate employment rate.

What does this change mean for this year’s ranking? Well, the shift will reward universities which have produced the world’s most creative, wealthy, entrepreneurial and philanthropic individuals, particularly if those people studied at undergraduate level as this is given a higher weighting than postgraduate study.

More universities than ever before

Last year’s ranking included 200 universities and was drawn from data that had been acquired and analyzed on 300 institutions. This year, the number of total universities considered has been doubled to 600, and the top 500 universities will be published.

As well as ensuring a much greater geographical spread of universities, the expanded ranking is likely to see several universities break into the top 50 and top 100 for the first time. Universities which performed well last year may have a fight on their hands to retain or improve upon their position.

Fight for number one

Which brings us to the battle at the top of the rankings table. Stanford University were last year’s champions and will be hoping to repeat the feat again this year. They should be helped by the fact that last year they scored full marks in two of the five ranking indicators, including alumni outcomes which is gaining in importance this year.

However, there are several universities well-placed to take Stanford’s crown. The University of Oxford also scored full marks for alumni outcomes in last year’s ranking, suggesting it could benefit from the change in methodology, while last year’s second place university MIT will be hoping it can build on finishing top of the QS World University Rankings again earlier this summer.

Of course, it shouldn’t be overlooked that another university could benefit from the expanded focus of this year’s ranking and shoot up the table to take the number one spot. All will be revealed on September 12.

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