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U of T's grads are top ten in the world for employability, survey says

Recruiters from across 21 countries rank U of T one of top three public universities for work-ready alumni

(Photo by Johnny Guatto)

The University of Toronto is one of the top ten universities in the world when it comes to the employability of its grads, the 2015 Global Employability University Survey and Ranking says.

It’s the fourth year in a row that U of T has placed first in Canada in the high-profile survey, which ranks U of T’s work-ready grads in the same cohort as Oxford, Cambridge and various Ivy League institutions.

U of T’s rank in the employability survey has climbed 14 places since 2012 – and jumped several spots from last year’s 13th-place finish. The results mean U of T now ranks third in the world for public universities.

A German market research firm called Trendence carried out the survey based on a design by Emerging, a French human resources consultancy. More than 2,000 recruiters from 21 countries weighed in on higher education institutions producing desirable employees and the valued characteristics in universities and graduates.

What made the top ten universities so attractive to employers on a global level? The survey said key drivers were reputation (based on recruiters own experience with graduates), international exposure and expertise. 

Rank Institution Country
2 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
3 University of Oxford United Kingdom
10 University of Toronto Canada

“What we understood from employers is that skills help students get the initial job, but creativity, critical thinking, analysis and a broad knowledge base contribute to a successful career,” Professor Cheryl Regehr, U of T’s vice-president and provost, said in an interview with Times Higher Education (THE) which published the results on Nov. 6. 

“We want to help students get a sense of how they can take what they learn in the classroom around things like critical thinking and apply it to various settings.”

The survey's findings ring true for Shahrukh Ahmed, a Faculty of Arts & Science alumnus who graduated from U of T in June. The geographer and urbanist says his experiential learning, internships and work-study experiences at U of T helped him stand out in New York.

“Without the university's strong global reputation for urban thinking, its wide array of research institutes and internship opportunities, and my professors' energy and enthusiasm in connecting me with the right people in Toronto and New York, I would have never had the chance to do what I love – work on major urban planning projects at HR&A Advisors.”

Approximately 70 per cent of students taking a professional experience year course in Engineering receive a job offer during their placement, Regehr said. She also noted job shadowing programs and other employment supports built into programs for students in Arts & Science and other faculties – and that more employment programming is on the way.

“Great universities are always seeking to do things better,” Regehr told THE. “Research wants to find better answers to world problems. Our teaching needs to always remain innovative. So the way in which we connect our students with the city, the country and the world, in order to make them great contributors, has to keep adapting as well.”

Canada “appears to be making strides in employability,” Ellie Bothwell wrote in the THE feature, adding that three other Canadian universities in the top 50 – besides U of T – have also risen from last year:  McGill (21st), UBC (39th) and University of Montreal (44th).

Read the full THE article on the 2015 rankings 

Laurent Dupasquier, associate director of Emerging, told THE that as “recruiters develop a better knowledge and understanding of the global higher education market, reputation plays less of a role and expertise [plays] more.”

“The nationality of young graduates, the country in which they studied and the nationality of the company that employs them is becoming increasingly irrelevant,” he said, adding that employers from all continents seek specific skills as the most important factor, then work experience and degree area, with grades at the bottom of their priorities.

This is the latest of 2015’s global rankings in which U of T performed highly, including Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings (19th globally, number one in Canada), Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities (25th globally, number one in Canada), U.S. News & World Report’s Best Global Universities ranking (16th globally, number one in Canada) and the National Taiwan University Ranking which set U of T at third place in the world behind only Harvard and Johns Hopkins.

Read more about Rankings

Rank Institution Country
1 Harvard University United States
2 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
3 University of Oxford United Kingdom
4 California Institute of Technology United States
5 Yale University United States
6 Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States
7 Stanford University United States
8 Columbia University United States
9 Princeton University United States
10 University of Toronto Canada