Best universities producing ‘ready-for-work’ graduates: Global Employability University Survey

A survey of employers around the world reveals which universities produce the best graduates for the workplace
November 12 2015

Thousands of major recruiters around the world have voted on which local and international universities produce the best graduates for their workplace.

The results are published in a Global Employability University Survey and Ranking, revealed exclusively by Times Higher Education today.

Although many of the universities that received the most votes, and are therefore at the top of the employability ranking, are recognised as world-leading institutions, there are a number of surprises.


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In particular, the top 20 features a number of universities outside the US and the UK that might not be obvious choices for students looking to maximise their career opportunities.

These include the Technical University of Munich, in Germany, the University of Tokyo, in Japan, École Normale Supérieure, in France, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

The unexpected result reflects the preferences of both national companies who recruite graduates in their own country, and multinational and international companies who recruite globally.

Perhaps the biggest anomaly is the Indian Institute of Science at 20th place in the employability ranking, but ranked outside the top 250 universities by Times Higher Education.

Given that only 102 surveyed recruiters were from Indian companies, the 332 votes cast for the Indian Institute of Science suggests that a good number of international companies particularly value the graduates that they recruit from the Indian institution.

Global Employability University Ranking: top 20 universities

Employability rank

THE World University Rank

University

Country

Votes

1

6

Harvard University

United States

662

2

4

University Of Cambridge

UK

633

3

2

University of Oxford

UK

609

4

1

California Institute of Technology

United States

597

5

12

Yale University

United States

575

6

5

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

United States

571

7

3

Stanford University

United States

552

8

15

Columbia University

United States

531

9

7

Princeton University

United States

509

10

19

University of Toronto

Canada

483

11

53

Technical University of Munich

Germany

411

12

43

University of Tokyo

Japan

398

13

54

École Normale Supérieure

France

386

14

59

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Hong Kong

378

15

8

Imperial College London

UK

369

16

42

Peking University

China

363

17

26

National University of Singapore

Singapore

360

18

20

Duke University

United States

348

19

13

University of California, Berkeley

United States

333

20

251-300

Indian Institute of Science

India

332

More than a quarter of the recruiters surveyed worked for companies in the IT, consultancy or engineering sectors. Other prominent sectors included retail, finance, construction, transport and pharmaceuticals.

Recently, the consultancy firm Deloitte announced that it would not give recruiters information about where candidates went to university, so as to avoid unconsciously prejudicing against talented candidates simply on the basis of their alma mater.

Nonetheless, the survey reveals that many recruiters do form preferences for certain universities, largely based on their past experience with graduates, the international exposure graduates could have had at university, and the level of expertise that they assume graduates will have.

Why recruiters prefer graduates from particular universities

Chart: why recruiters prefer universities
Source: 
Emerging

US, UK and French universities count for 61 of the top 150 institutions preferred by employers. But German, Chinese and Swiss institutions also fared particularly well.

Laurent Dupasquier, associate director of Emerging – the consultancy behind the survey – explained that France’s disproportionate success was due to the fact that in the current market employers are now seeking graduates who have already had experience in professional environments. In the French grandes écoles system, students spend almost half their degree undertaking work experience.

Although Canada is often an overlooked opportunity for international study compared with the Ivy League institutions on offer in the US and Oxbridge in the UK, its top institution – the University of Toronto – is the 10th most preferred university for employers worldwide.

Country profiles in the Global Employability University Ranking

Country

Universities in top 150

Top university

Employability rank

World Uni Rank

US

39

Harvard University

1

6

UK

12

University Of Cambridge

2

4

France

10

École Normale Supérieure

13

54

Germany

8

Technical University of Munich

11

53

China

7

Peking University

16

42

Switzerland

7

ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

37

9

Canada

6

University of Toronto

10

19

Australia

5

Australian National University

32

52

Japan

5

University of Tokyo

12

43

Netherlands

5

Delft University of Technology

75

65

Hong Kong

4

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

14

59

South Korea

4

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

88

148

Sweden

4

Stockholm University

66

136

India

3

Indian Institute of Science

20

251-300

Israel

3

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

92

178

Italy

3

Bocconi University

94

Not ranked

Russia

3

Lomonosov Moscow State University

129

161

Spain

3

IE University

27

Not ranked

Taiwan

3

National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (Taiwan Tech)

96

301-350

Belgium

2

Ghent University

49

118

Brazil

2

University of São Paulo

81

251-300

Denmark

2

University of Copenhagen

52

82

Mexico

2

Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education

109

501-600

Singapore

2

National University of Singapore

17

26

Austria

1

University of Vienna

149

142

Finland

1

University of Helsinki

72

76

Ireland

1

Trinity College Dublin

121

160

New Zealand

1

University of Auckland

140

172

Norway

1

University of Oslo

141

135

Saudi Arabia

1

King Saud University

150

501-600

The ranking was put together by French human resources consultancy Emerging, and the survey and data collection was conducted by Trendence, a market research firm.

A panel of local recruiters named a number of national universities from where they source their best graduates, and a second panel of international or multinational companies cast up to 10 votes for the range of universities already on this shortlist. Recruiters could also add universities to the list at any stage.

Recruiters were asked to vote for the universities that, from their professional experience, were producing the best “ready-for-work” graduates.

See the full results of the Global Employability University Survey 2015-16 here.

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