QS has been recording the educational background of over 30,000 highly influential employers, sector leaders, and award-winning professionals, as well as individual professionals both senior and junior. The aim is to rank which universities are proving themselves as sources of successful employees and employers, and can claim to have positively influenced their alumni’s development. The criterion is based on the fact that universities with strong track records in this field will have the kind of high-quality alumni networks that provide students with connections, career advice, and internship/work placement opportunities – all of which boost employability. This is a new indicator within our rankings, and we will feature this metric as one of the key Employability indicators.

The research

The project started by mapping the educational backgrounds of the senior leadership teams at the top 500 privately owned companies in the world according to annual revenue. Later on, the process evolved to incorporate several global lists of influence from the past 3 years compiled by some of the most respected global media outlets and business expert companies, such as Forbes, Fortune, LinkedIn and TIME. The research continued to gather information from regional and national lists of respected awards and rankings of all parts of the world until it covered over 25,000 tertiary degrees offered in over 1,200 universities around the world.

The research prioritised youth leadership lists, both to take the opportunity to feature new universities in the ranking and also to recognise degrees awarded more recently, particularly in the past 5 years.

Once all the responses have been processed, the analysis can begin in earnest. It works as follows for each of our five subject areas:

  1. Exclude duplicate entries of individuals that were listed more than once in different awards.
  2. Devise weightings based on the scope of the list: global, regional, or national.
  3. Derive a weighted count of young prominent leaders and senior leaders, prioritising young leaders on a ratio of 2:1.
  4. Apply a straight scaling to each of these to achieve a score out of 100.


QS Graduate Employability Rankings 25%