A new global ranking shows which universities are the best for getting a job after graduation. QS, a group of global higher education analysts, has put together its first graduate employability index. The index aims to measure how appealing a university’s graduates are to employers.
QS examined data from over 300 universities around the world, comparing their performance on five key employment indicators.
Their data shows that Stanford University is the number one university for getting a job, with Massachusetts Institute of Technology coming in second.
Though this is a global rankings list, the U.S. has an incredibly strong presence, with five colleges in the top 10 and 10 colleges in the top 20. Making up the rest of the top 20 are three universities each from the U.K. and China, two from Australia, and one each from France and Hong Kong.
Employment prospects have never been so crucial to students deciding where they want to study for the next four years. With student debt at record high levels and a global economy still struggling to recover from the recession that began in 2008, there is a powerful incentive to start earning as much as possible and as soon as possible after graduation.
On top of that, college is becoming increasingly more accessible to young people around the world, meaning that young people are going to college more than ever before. As a result, competition for employment after graduation is fiercer than in previous years.
According to Ben Sowter, head of research at QS, the global ranking data shows that universities with a strong focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) scored higher on the employability index.
However, Sowter said the rankings were not solely because of STEM graduates being more employable than non-STEM graduates. The employment rate was only one of the five indicators used to compile the rankings. He also added that the employment rate was not broken down by subject.
According to QS, the top 10 global universities ranked on employability are:
The full rankings can be found here.
As well as post-graduate employment rates, universities were also assessed on employer reputation, partnerships with employers, employer-student connections and alumni outcomes. All of these factors went into the overall ranking.
Chicago University (23rd overall) was the highest-placed U.S. institution solely on graduate employment rate. The category was topped by South Korea’s Sungkyunkwan University. Australian universities also did well in this particular metric, with five in the top 20, reflecting a currently buoyant domestic economy. South Korea and Mexico both had two universities in the top 20 based on post-grad employment rate.
“As the global employment market changes in unprecedented ways, students are increasingly emphasizing the link between their university choice and their future career,” said Sowter. “We’re confident that the insights provided by this ranking will prove invaluable in allowing them to do so.”
While employability should figure prominently in every student’s considerations for where they’ll go to college, it should not be the only factor. When deciding where they will want to spend the next four years of their life, students will need more than just the prospect of finding a job after graduation to get them through those next four years.
Other equally important factors, like academic quality/style and reputation, affordability, and whether or not they can see themselves being happy and comfortable at the university, should be considered when deciding where to go.