UK universities losing ground on employability to rest of Europe

First data from graduate employability survey suggest surge in reputation for continental institutions

September 18, 2019
Brexit jigsaw
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The reputation of the UK’s universities among international graduate recruiters is falling behind institutions in continental Europe, survey data suggest.

According to the first results from an annual survey of worldwide employers on the best universities for graduates, the UK has dropped to fourth in terms of how well its institutions perform.

Germany and France have both overtaken the UK while the Netherlands is close behind after countries were rated on where their universities are placed in the top 150 institutions for graduate employability.

The US remains the country with the highest score based on placings in the ranking, although its lead over other countries has been cut substantially.

Laurent Dupasquier, associate director of Emerging, a Paris-based human resources consultancy that conducts the graduate employability survey, said companies were increasingly willing to hire from universities abroad.

“We are definitely seeing them opening themselves to other countries. The mindset of an international recruiter now in comparison to 10 years ago has changed tremendously,” he said.

Mr Dupasquier noted the growing reputation of universities in the Netherlands for employability. “We are seeing continental European countries, particularly those that offer English-speaking classes, doing well,” he said.

He added that the growing renown of institutions on the Continent was more likely to account for UK universities losing ground than a genuine diminishing of their reputations, although he said it was impossible to discount Brexit as having some effect.

Overall, the UK has 10 universities in the top 150 ranking, which will be published in full in November, the same number as last year. But their lower positions this year have brought down the country score. The US has seen its representation in the ranking fall from 34 institutions to 29, while Germany is up one and France is up three.

Stephen Isherwood, chief executive of the Institute of Student Employers, which works with UK graduate recruiters, said international businesses increasingly sought graduates who could “demonstrate a global mindset – students who understand the global environment businesses operate in and can work across cultures”.

But he noted that among UK employers there had actually been a drop in the share of graduates being hired from the rest of the European Union, possibly as a result of Brexit persuading EU students to seek work elsewhere.


Print headline: Europe gains on UK in employability survey

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