California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are ranked in first and second place by employers from around the world for producing the most employable graduates, according to Times Higher Education (THE).

THE’s sixth annual Global University Employability Ranking, released on Wednesday, revealed the top 150 universities in the world for employability.

U.S. universities dominated the ranking, taking six of the top 10 spots: Harvard University (3), Stanford University (5), Yale University (6), and Princeton University (9).

Two UK universities also made the top 10 – University of Cambridge (4) and University of Oxford (7) – as well as one each for Germany (Technical University of Munich) and Japan (University of Tokyo).


Source: Global University Employability Survey 2016


There are 37 American institutions altogether in the ranking, making it the most represented and the strongest producers of work-ready graduates, while Germany and the UK are among the top three.

The research – commissioned by human resources consultancy firm Emerging – involved 2,500 recruitment managers from large international companies and showed that employers in different countries put different values on the various non-academic skills graduates may possess.

For example, employers in France, India, the U.S. and the UK seek students with strong communication skills, while Chinese and German managers consider adaptability to be the most important.


Source: Global University Employability Survey 2016 © Emerging


Based on the survey, recruiters named professional experience and a high degree of specialisation as reliable indicators of a graduate’s employability.

Possessing a degree from a prestigious institution isn’t necessarily a guarantee that a job candidate would be a perfect fit for the job, but due to the large volume of applicants, recruiters often narrow down their selection based on university reputation and rank.

THE World University Rankings editor Phil Baty said in a statement: “A university education brings a host of life-enhancing benefits but for many students, launching a successful career is one of the most important outcomes.

“In a year of huge political upheaval, where young students have witnessed Brexit and the unexpected election of Donald Trump as U.S. President, many will seek the relative safety of a university with a strong track record of producing graduates who are valued by large, international graduate employers. This ranking will help them make that vital decision.”


Source: Global University Employability Survey 2016 © Emerging


Due to increasing international mobility, employers are looking for students with a global mindset, so it would do students well to choose a university with a “global brand”.

Brett Alpert, Stanford’s associate dean of career education (and director of its employer engagement programme, known as Career Ventures), told THE: “It is important for students entering today’s workplace to connect with many different people, from a range of professions, in order to discover potential areas of interest and opportunities in fields that they may not have initially considered.”

He added that universities offering a broad-based curriculum would be beneficial for students, “helping them to develop the combination of leadership skills, critical thinking skills, and technical expertise needed to successfully navigate workplace and societal challenges and opportunities”.


Besides being “global”, Eden Woon, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s vice-president for institutional advancement, said that knowing how to best apply the knowledge learned is just as important as having the knowledge in the first place.

“Everybody should major in a specific area because that really gives them the depth of knowledge in some field and it also gives [them] the challenge of diving deeply into a certain subject.

“But I think just as important as being knowledgeable about a specific subject is the ability to adapt, be innovative, and to apply knowledge in different ways,” he said.

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