The Best Universities According to Employers

The Best Universities According to Employers

Laura Bridgestock

Updated January 28, 2022 Updated January 28

As part of the QS World University Rankings®, graduate employers worldwide are asked to name the universities they believe produce the best graduates. So, which are this year’s best universities according to employers?

While the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is still number one in the overall QS World University Rankings, it seems that in the graduate jobs market the longstanding reputations of the UK’s two oldest institutions still hold considerable sway.

The University of Oxford tops the employer reputation survey this year, followed by historic rival University of Cambridge. Harvard University, which was last year’s number one according to employers, drops to third.

With Oxford and Cambridge at the top, it’s clear that the Oxbridge ‘brand’ continues to hold a major appeal for graduate recruiters. And UK universities in general get a very strong rating from employers, occupying half of the top 10 spots.

10 Best Universities According to Employers 2013/14*

UniversityCountryOverall Positions in QS World University Rankings 2013/14
1. University of OxfordUK6
2. University of CambridgeUK6
3. Harvard UniversityUS2
4. London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)UK68
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)US1
6. Stanford UniversityUS7
7. Imperial College LondonUK5
8. University of MelbourneAustralia31
9. University of ManchesterUK31
10. University of California, BerkeleyUS25

Best-known universities around the world

Beyond the ‘big name’ US and UK institutions, the employer survey allows prospective students to discover universities around the world with the strongest international reputations. And, as ever, the results of the employer reputation survey can give a significantly different picture than that provided by the overall rankings.

The University of Melbourne is Australia’s star performer according to employers, with overall top-ranked institution Australian National University also surprisingly outperformed by the University of New South Wales, Monash University and University of Sydney.

In Canada, the University of Toronto has a very slight edge on McGill University, but the two are clearly established as the country’s most internationally well-regarded institutions. The University of British Columbia and University of Waterloo are the only other Canadian institutions to be rated within the world’s 100 best universities according to employers.

Whereas Mainland China is outperformed by Hong Kong’s top institutions in the overall rankings, the tables are turned in the employer survey, with Peking University and Tsinghua University ranking third and fourth in Asia respectively. Yet both are beaten by Singapore National University, Asia’s number one university in both the overall and employer reputation tables, as well as Japan’s University of Tokyo.  

Switzerland’s ETH Zurich has in recent years established itself as the world’s premier institution that doesn’t operate primarily in English, and in the QS survey employers recognize it as the number one institution in Continental Europe. The regions next best universities according to employers are fellow tech-focused institution Ecole Polytechnique ParisTech and Germany’s Technische Universität München.

The considerable advances made by leading Latin American universities in recent years have led to an increase in recognition among employers. However, it is Argentina’s Universidad de Buenos Aires, rather than the continent’s overall top-ranked institution Universidade de São Paulo (USP), that is regarded as the best source of graduate talent.

About the QS employer reputation survey

The QS employer reputation survey is one indicator used in compiling the QS World University Rankings®, forming 10% of the overall rankings score. It is based on a major global survey of graduate employers (more than 27,000 in 2013). Respondents are asked to identify the universities they regard as producing the best graduates.

The results provide a unique insight into the global hierarchy of universities as it stands in the eyes of those who, perhaps more than any other group, play a role in determining the value of a degree in the job market.

In addition to employer reputation, the QS World University Rankings also consider academic reputation, research citations, student-faculty ratio, and international diversity of staff and students.

* This top 10 only includes universities which qualify for an overall position in the QS World University Rankings®.

This article was originally published in September 2013 . It was last updated in September 2021

Written by

The former editor of, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Rankings?'


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