Going to college or university isn’t just about preparing you for a career, but choosing the right institution and course can certainly improve your graduate prospects.
A global employability ranking, designed by HR consultancy Emerging and published exclusively by Times Higher Education, reveals which universities the recruiters at top companies think are the best at preparing students for the workplace.
These 250 universities span 41 countries, from the US to Japan. Employers voted for institutions both in their own country and around the world, if they recruit internationally.
In some countries, graduate jobs are not easy to come by, but in European countries such as France, Switzerland and Germany, professional experience is built into degree programmes.
France, Germany and China are among the best represented countries in the employability ranking, along with the United Kingdom and the United States.
Both Germany and Japan have an institution in the top 10, with Chinese and Canadian universities also appearing high in the ranking.
Employability rankings by country
Top universities in the United States for employability
Top universities in the UK for employability
Top universities in Canada for employability
Top universities in Australia for employability
Top universities in the Netherlands for employability
Top universities in France for employability
Top universities in Germany for employability
Top universities for employability 2018
1. Harvard University
Harvard University is the oldest and arguably the most prestigious college in the United States, with a reputation for admitting and producing highly intelligent and skilled students.
More than 30 heads of state are Harvard alumni and the university also boasts 48 Nobel prizewinners and 48 Pulitzer winners.
Like many schools favoured by employers, Harvard also has a long history of groundbreaking research and innovation.
Many students undertake extracurricular activities while studying, from sports activities to entrepreneurial endeavours, which endow them with essential skills to succeed.
2. California Institute of Technology
It’s no surprise that the California Institute of Technology – regarded as one of the best universities in the world – is also a favourite among international employers. Students are admitted on the basis of strong maths, science and engineering skills and interest, which seems to serve them well in their future careers.
Not only do Caltech students learn the fundamentals across a range of science and engineering subjects, they also get to grips with the most innovative tools to address some of society’s most pressing challenges.
The student population is tiny compared with other colleges – one of the smallest in the world, with just over 1,000 undergraduates and 1,200 postgraduates. This close community allows for excellent relationships between tutors and staff.
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
In addition to its world-leading courses, Massachusetts Institute of Technology also offers career-enhancing programmes for undergraduates, industry leaders and the general public.
Many companies have significant involvement with college courses and research, often spanning disciplines and lasting for a number of years.
MIT students, alumni and faculty members play key roles in entrepreneurial innovations, including developing advanced computer networks, securing venture capital transactions, and biotechnology.
4. University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is among the world’s best and most elite universities.
Its history stretches back to the 13th century, when the university was founded by Oxford scholars taking refuge after conflicts with townspeople.
Now, its graduates are globally sought after, valued particularly for their specialist knowledge, gained as a result of personal tuition that is unique to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in the UK.
5. Stanford University
With its proximity to Silicon Valley, Stanford University is a good training ground for students looking to move into the tech industry.
Stanford alumni have founded many successful companies, including Google, Nike, Netflix, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Instagram and Charles Schwab.
Graduates have also founded non-profit organisations such as Kiva and SIRUM.
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Global University Employability Ranking 2018
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This year an increased number of votes allow for a “challenger” list of institutions placed between 150 and 250 in the ranking to also be published in two bands. The full "challenger list can be seen below.
Read more: Best universities in the world