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U.S. Universities Earn Global Top Spots for Employability of Grads

Four United States universities topped this year's Times Higher Education rankings for graduates who are the "most employable." California Institute of Technology came in first, just as it did last year. Caltech, located in Pasadena, maintains incredibly high standards for admission, and every student accepted excels in STEM. The school is also one of the smallest, with just about 1,000 undergraduates and 1,200 post-graduates. Caltech was followed in the rankings by Harvard University, Columbia and MIT, in that order.

Although the rankings were published by UK-based Times Higher Ed, they were commissioned by Emerging, a human resources firm that works specifically with companies on finding "young talent." The list was developed through an online survey of 2,500 recruitment managers across the globe and further developed by responses from a second group of 3,500 international managers. Survey participants were asked to define what they looked for in graduates and to cast a maximum of 10 votes for the schools producing the most employable graduates.

The U.S. dominated the rankings once again — with 35 institutions among the top 150 — but American colleges also slipped in their positions on the list overall, which one observer suggested was tied to the current political situation in the country.

The top 10 U.S. institutions to appear in the ranking were these:

Employability Rankings


Rank in 2017 Rank in 2016 Change
Caltech 1 1 0
Harvard University 2 3 +1
Columbia University 3 12 +9
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 4 2 -2
Boston University 6 11 +5
Stanford University 7 5 -2
Yale University 10 6 -4
Princeton University 11 9 -2
University of California, Berkeley 20 19 -1
Johns Hopkins University 28 29 +1

UC Berkeley is the only public university on the list; the others are all private, not-for-profits.

According to Laurent Dupasquier, managing partner at Emerging, schools all over the world that have put an emphasis on developing students' soft skills and their employability through partnerships with companies have seen a "gradual rise" in their rankings.

"The U.S. again dominates the top 10, but you don't have to look much further to see that the reputation of its universities among global recruiters could be waning relative to others," he noted in a prepared statement. "Several well-known institutions have dropped a few places and although the performance of some universities lower down the ranking is encouraging, questions will be raised about whether the country's global image is being affected in some way by the political turmoil in Washington.

However, he added, compared to other nations, the United States still has the largest number of universities "that trip off the tongue of global employers looking for the best graduates."

The complete list is available on the Times Higher Education website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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