Asian universities on the rise in employability ranking

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has topped the 2019 QS Graduate Employability Rankings, pushing Stanford University into joint second place.

The United States, Asia and Australia performed well, with Californian universities in particular taking three of the top 10 places and Australian universities taking two.

Asia’s 10 highest ranked institutions performed better in the Graduate Employability Rankings, announced on 10 September, than in the QS World University Rankings, as did China’s 10 highest ranking universities.

The top 10 were MIT, Stanford, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Harvard University, the University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, University of Cambridge, University of California, Berkeley, China’s Tsinghua University and the University of Oxford.

China’s Tsinghua University came ninth and Peking University 20th. Of 22 Chinese universities featured in the ranking, 13 improved their position and only two dropped.

The United Kingdom’s top institutions, by contrast, underperformed, with all of the country’s five leading universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, dropping places.

Ben Sowter, research director at Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), said: “Universities in Asia and Australia are often leading the way in offering students career-connected learning experiences. Their focus on offering students pedagogy that is designed to directly prepare them for the workplace is one key factor behind their successes in this ranking.”

In total, 19 Asian universities made it into the top 100, with seven of those places going to Japan, followed by China (five), South Korea (four), Hong Kong (one) and Taiwan (one).

But China was the most represented Asian location in the ranking, with 22 universities, followed by Japan (21) and South Korea (12).

One reason for the success of Chinese institutions is their extensive efforts to engage with employers and they took three of the top 20 scores for partnerships with employers, with Zhejiang University second, Tsinghua University third and Huazhong University of Science and Technology 19th.

Continental Europe’s leading nation for employability is Germany, with 26 institutions in the ranking and four in the top 100, a consequence of its high number of technical institutions and its focus on career-connected courses.

Latin American nations contribute 33 universities to the ranking, with Mexico leading with seven. But the highest ranked institution from the continent was Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, ranked 37th.

Ten African institutions made it into the rankings, compared to four in the top 500 of the QS World University Rankings. The highest ranked of those was South Africa’s University of Cape Town in the 101-110 band.

Sowter said: “Rises in tuition fees and an ever-more competitive job market are making students ever more concerned about the likelihood that their prospective university will help them thrive afterwards.

“This ranking indicates that those universities that have excellent research profiles and global reputations aren’t invariably those that do most to nurture student employability.”

The Graduate Employability Rankings use five indicators:
  • • Employer reputation (30% of final score), drawn from a survey of 42,000 employers.

  • • Alumni outcomes (25%), gauged from alma mater data for more than 28,000 ‘highly successful’ individuals.

  • • Partnerships with employers per faculty (25%), a measure of employer engagement measuring the number of research partnerships and internship or placement opportunities that a university has, adjusted by the number of faculty members.

  • • Employer-student connections (10%), a measure of how many individual employers have been physically present on a university’s campus over the past 12 months.

  • • Graduate employment rate (10%), measured as the proportion of the university’s graduates employed 12 months after graduating, adjusted to take into account national economic conditions.