Global Employability Rankings 2021

Global Employability University Ranking and Survey (GEURS), run by higher education HR consultancy Emerging and published by Times Higher Education (THE), has revealed the world’s top 250 universities according to recruiters.
November 24, 2021

INTERNATIONAL RECRUITERS REVEAL WORLD’S TOP 250 UNIVERSITIES FOR GRADUATE EMPLOYABILITY

 

  • 11th annual Global Employability University Ranking and Survey (GEURS) surveyed 10,928 international recruiters and managers in 23 countries and regions
  • For first time recruiters place digital and soft skills and subject specialization above academic excellence for employability
  • US is home to world’s top three universities and turns around ten-year decline across ranking
  • US, France and UK are best represented countries in the table from a total of 44 countries and regions
  • Mainland China sees universities climb due to strengths in graduate skills and work experience
  • Indian universities see clear rise for first time in years due to strengths in subject specialization and graduate skills
  • Spain doubles number of ranked universities in two years driven by graduate skills, focus on work experience and digital specialism
  • UK, Israel and India stand out for digital specialisms
  • View the full table on THE's website here (live from 0900 UTC Wednesday 24 November 2021): https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/best-universities/best-universities-graduate-jobs-global-university-employability-ranking
  • View the full table on Emerging's website here (live from 0900 UTC Wednesday 24 November 2021): https://emerging.fr/geurs2020

 

24 November 2021

 

When it comes to deciding where to study, employability is becoming an increasingly important factor. Quite simply, students and parents want to know that the often-high costs of a degree-level education will lead to a beneficial outcome when it comes to stepping onto, and climbing, the career ladder.

 

Now in its 11th year, the annual Global Employability University Ranking and Survey (GEURS), run by higher education HR consultancy Emerging and published by Times Higher Education (THE), has revealed the world’s top 250 universities according to recruiters. It shows that increasingly, employers are looking for graduates with strong digital literacy and subject specialism skills rather than focusing on the prestige of the university they attended.

 

The survey was carried out by polling institute Trendence across 23 countries and regions, resulting in 118,196 votes cast by 10,928 international recruiters and managers supervising five or more graduates a year. These recruiters and managers selected up to 15 universities from a list of 2,000 and gave reasons behind their votes.

  

The Results

 So if you want to give yourself the best shot at finding a relevant job and career path after university, where should you study?

 

The top ten sees the US, UK, Japan and Singapore represented, but there’s a whole host of countries that are rising stars when it comes to employability. Mainland China, France, India and Spain are among those countries and regions that rise while the United Kingdom (UK), US, India, and Israel stand out for their digital performance.

 

In total, universities from 44 countries and regions are represented in the table of 250 institutions, from Brazil to Belgium and Malaysia to Morocco.

 

Rank 2021

University

Country

1

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

USA

2

California Institute of Technology

USA

3

Harvard University

USA

4

University of Cambridge

UK

5

Stanford University

USA

6

The University of Tokyo

Japan

7

Yale University

USA

8

University of Oxford

UK

9

National University of Singapore

Singapore

10

Princeton University

USA

Above: Top ten universities for employability 2021

 

Mainland China mirrors a rise seen across rankings in recent years as a focus on graduate skills and preparing students for work sees Peking University (15th) climb to its highest ever finish, Tsinghua University (37th) climb an impressive 13 places and Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech, 189th) shoot up 31 places to enter the top 200. None of Mainland China’s 11 represented universities rank lower than last year, with an average positive rank change of eight places.

 

India’s universities see a clear rise for the first time in a number of years thanks to the rise of soft skills and digital literacy and technical and research specialization. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi holds on to 27th place and all other universities ranked last year (six total) climb an average of 20 places in the table. Bangalore University (249th) enters the ranking for the first time.

 

In Europe, all of Spain’s universities improve on their positions last year due to strengths in soft skills and digital literacy, digital performance and focus on work. IE University (19th) breaks into the top 20 while University Carlos III (UC3M, 157th) and Ramon Llul University (246th) both climb more than 15 places.  Meanwhile, the UK sees a mixed picture as seven of its 15 universities decline, while just four rise.

 

At a country level, based on total number of votes received, the United States remains top of the pile, with more than 25% of all votes cast and holding 54 of the total 250 places. France narrowly beats the United Kingdom (third) to second place, while the top ten also includes higher education powerhouses Canada and Australia while Mainland China and Japan fly the flag for Asia.

 

Rank 2021

Country

% of Vote

1

USA

25.41%

2

France

7.32%

3

UK

7.29%

4

Germany

6.80%

5

Mainland China

4.77%

6

Canada

4.28%

7

Japan

3.74%

8

Australia

3.69%

9

Switzerland

3.51%

10

Netherlands

3.26%

Above: Top ten countries by vote share

 

Digital Revolution

 The ranking is comprised of six main drivers and for the first time, this year it is drivers related to digital skills and learning that trump all others. Soft skills and digital literacy have become the most important factor to employers, rising to the top over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic from being fourth most important just two years ago. Innovative learning methods and specialist training for digital jobs (Digital Performance) compounds this trend, appearing as a clear new driver for employers. Conversely, in general a university’s brand is no longer as important a factor outside the top 50. While the likes of the Ivy League and Oxbridge continue to be held in high regard, overall research output and quality of teaching staff (academic excellence) has dropped four places since the pandemic hit.

 

Driver

Rank 2021

Rank 2019 (Pre-Covid)

Change

Soft Skills and Digital Literacy

1

4

+3

Specialization (technical and research expertise)

2

3

+1

Focus on Work

3

2

-1

Digital Performance

4

-

-

Academic Excellence

5

1

-4

Internationalism

6

5

-1

 

Sandrine Belloc, Managing Partner, Emerging commented:

 “The annual GEURS employability ranking specifically addresses the student need to identify those universities that offer the best prospects for future employment. It provides them with the reasons behind recruiters’ choices and shows that indicators such as digitalization, specialization or soft skills are increasingly important, much more so than the prestige of a university’s name. The resulting rankings provides a diverse range of universities for students to consider when thinking about who to invest in for their higher education to help shape their personal path into a successful and rewarding career.”

 

Seeta Bhardwa, Content Editor at THE Student said:

 “Studying at university isn’t just one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make from an education and skills point of view, but also from a financial perspective. Students and their parents want to make sure that outlay will pay off in the long run. This ranking provides a means to understand what’s important to graduate recruiters and help students think about what they should focus on when choosing a university to give themselves the best possible start on the career ladder.”

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