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Employable graduates: two Australian unis again crack top 10 ranking

Graduates from the Universities of Sydney and Melbourne are among the most employable in the world.

That’s according to the 2019 edition of the Graduate Employability Rankings, released by higher education analysts QS Quacquarelli Symonds.

Ben Sowter, research director at QS, said rises in tuition fees and an ever-more-competitive job market were making students increasingly concerned about the likelihood that their prospective university will help them thrive afterwards.

“This ranking is designed to empower them to make more informed choices, and indicates that those universities that have excellent research profiles and global reputations aren’t always those that do most to nurture student employability,” Sowter said.

The QS ranking compares data on 500 universities, specifically looking at their ability to provide students with a successful career.

Despite dropping down one position from the previous year to 5th, USYD was again named Australia’s top university under the scale.

Vice-chancellor and principal Dr Michael Spence said the university recently transformed its undergraduate curriculum to ensure graduates are adaptable and creative thinkers.

“As part of the new Sydney Undergraduate Experience, all students have the opportunity to take on real-world industry, community, research and entrepreneurship projects,” said Spence.

UniMelb, Australia’s other top 10 university, moved up one place to reach 6th. It’s the institution’s second jump in as many years, before which it was ranked 11th.

Glyn Davis, the university’s vice-chancellor, said UniMelb was focused on producing graduates with a “highly desirable and employable blend of technical and interpersonal skills”.

“Professional life for graduates is becoming more complex, and universities must equip their students with a more diverse skill set,” Davis said.

Overall, 18 Australian universities were ranked among the top 500. Eight reached the global top 100.

QS’s Sowter said the results prove “heartening reading” for Australian institutions. “Metric-by-metric results [indicate] that the national higher education sector is proving highly proactive in engaging with employers, inviting them to campus to allow students to expand their networks, and fostering alumni that are able to reach the very top of their fields.”

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) topped the 2019 list, followed by Stanford University and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Harvard University was the other institution that pulled ahead of Australia’s top 10 entries.

The Graduate Employability Rankings is based on five elements – employer reputation, for which QS surveyed 42,000 employers, alumni outcomes, partnerships with employers per faculty, employer-student connections and graduate employment rate. The latter is used to ensure universities aren’t penalised for operating in struggling economies or unduly benefiting from thriving ones.

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