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New QS ranking: Whose graduates are the most employable?

On 26 November, QS Quacquarelli Symonds released the inaugural edition of its QS Graduate Employability Rankings. The launch of a ranking devoted solely to employability marks an expansion on the QS employer reputation survey, one of the indicators informing the flagship World University Ranking on the basis of employers’ experience with graduates. The new ranking measures performance across five indicators and apart from reputation among employers (30%) it also takes into account alumni outcomes (20%), partnerships with employers (25%), employers’ presence on campus (15%) and graduate employment rate (10%). Looking beyond just employment rates, the methodology intends to provide a more in-depth perspective of the perception of universities in the global labour market, their connections with employers and the quality of employment outcomes, thus better aiding prospective students in their decision-making. 

The pilot league table features the top 200 institutions representing 36 countries, based on an analysis of some 700 universities. According to the results, Stanford graduates are the world’s most employable this year, with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard graduates trailing in second and third place, respectively. As is usually the case with global rankings, Anglo-American universities fill the majority of the top 10 slots, leaving room for only two universities from other regions: China’s Tsinghua University in the 9th place and France’s Ecole Polytechnique in the 10th place round up the top 10 list. As for the more surprising placements, University of Leeds in the 20th rank, Mexico’s Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) in the 21st place and Canada’s University of Waterloo in the 25th rank hold their own among the big name universities. Overall, 22 institutions who ranked below the top-50 list in this year’s edition of the QS World University Ranking made it among the top 50 institutions in this ranking. 

The pilot edition of the ranking employed an opt-in model, and a number of well-regarded universities are therefore missing from the published league table. For example, seven out of eight members of the Group of Eight, a coalition of research-intensive Australian universities, chose not to participate due to concerns over the confidentiality of data. This edition therefore failed to win over the likes of the Australian National University and the University of Melbourne. We might see them in future editions, though, as the QS Intelligence Unit is planning to make the new employability ranking a regular affair, with a greater representation of institutions.  Press release QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2016 QS Intelligence Unit blog