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In accordance to the ranking boom, combined with an increasing interest for graduates’ employability, another university chart joins the list. For the 4th year in a row, Emerging and Trendence – a French human resources consultancy and a German polling institute, respectively –release the annual Global Employability University Ranking, this year based on a survey to 4 500 recruiters in 20 different countries. The main goal is to produce a rating of best universities in terms of graduates’ employability by focusing more on the working skills of graduates rather on academic achievement in terms of research and development. The field of graduate employability is caught recently the attention of other big players– such as LinkedIn, that started releasing its own rankings from last October (see ACA Newsletter Education Europe, Edition October 2014).
According to the Global Employability University Ranking, the secret for scoring well in employability is to be a ‘global university’, with a globally known brand, an international community of students and a strong international strategy. University brands are evolving beyond the traditional Ivy League. Borders are being opened up, notably with the aid of online open courses, which are proving a reliable support for branding as well as having a major impact on teaching methods. Yet unsurprisingly, the top tier remains Anglo-Saxon with almost 50 % of the total, with Cambridge University in first position and Harvard and Yale in the second and third, respectively. However, as in traditional rankings, Asian universities are rising, now representing 20% of the total chart compared with only 10% in the first edition in 2010.
Recruiters do appear open to structures that differ from traditional academia, as it is the case of the French grandes écoles (the top schools in higher education) as well as some big Spanish and Italian business schools, that appear surprisingly high in the chart. This success is largely due to close contact with the business world with a balanced mix of theoretical and practical training. Expertise in one field of competence is the second important element for success, according to 32.2% of respondents. In particular, technical expertise is increasingly valued and universities with a focus on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are gaining a progressive advantage.