Let's talk employability

November 17, 2022

how do employers assess the quality of a university?

A GEURS 2022 survey Insight

By Sandrine Belloc, managing partner at Emerging

Every year Emerging releases the GEURS global employability university ranking, a top 250 listing based on employers’ point of view, whereby respondents from companies around the world rank universities for the employability of their graduates.

Since its inception in 2010, the GEURS has been more than a yearly specialized ranking, however. The GEURS is also a survey in which, year after year, employers worldwide are questioned extensively on several subjects: on their recruitment processes, their relationship with universities, or the skills they are looking for in graduates. The GEURS survey, which is an essential part of Emerging’s tailored research, allows to historically track employer’s attitudes toward certain topics, and see if or how their standpoints evolve. And so it happens that the GEURS survey results may reveal early signs of trends or shifts which may greatly impact universities or the educational outlook of future graduates. And thus, we recently reported for example, that GEURS 2020 survey results showed early signs of a strong rise in employer-led graduate programs, which we see confirmed today (ref to article), as many employers believe that the employability of graduates has decreased in the past years (7.13 on a scale of 10) and feel they need to do something about it.

More fundamentally, employers worldwide are also asked about HOW they tend to assess the quality of a university, in other words, which criteria they investigate. Whereas it is known that for the world’s institutions with a long and historic academic tradition, reputation is still an important selection factor for students and employers alike, the GEURS research provides a much more detailed view of employers’ opinions.

Emerging’s research has always shown that reputation, academic excellence, and employability are the three fundamentals for employers when assessing a university. While other criteria do come into play, they have not, to this day, gained the weight these three criteria have in the general assessment of the quality of an institution. This year’s GEURS 2022-2023 survey shows clearly that employers worldwide, on an average, weight at 24% the importance they give to reputation when investigating the quality of a university, with academic excellence and employability of graduates trailing closely behind in second and third position.

Over the years, we see slight shifts in employer’s viewpoints, which will vary at a regional or country-level or according to sectors of industry, but also depending on the profile of the university. Our 2022 survey results reveal notable differences among respondents’ answers. Employers in China and India give less weight to the reputation of a university, while they seem to attach much more importance to academic excellence and employability. And in a country like Canada, where traditionally great importance is attached to the reputation of an institution, employers put the employability criterium in a very strong second position.

As all-round digital literacy as well as specific digital skills are setting the new norm in a digitalized world and in almost all corporate processes, they are quickly becoming integral part of the graduate skills which employers want their future recruits to have. In 2022 employers also indicate that new players of the digitalized world are starting to compete with existing institutions of higher education. And so, we see that in certain regions or in specific countries, where the demands of the local or global economy for specific graduate profiles or skill sets is apparent, employability plays an increasingly large role in the assessment of institutions by employers. Consequently, their current and future recruitment of graduates will reflect this.

In view of the shifts and transformations which we observe in the corporate marketplace and in how employers assess universities, employability remains an essential criterium, and a key factor for both for students and their parents who wish to estimate the value of a degree, and for the universities who need to refine their curriculum to successfully educate their future graduates and stay competitive in a changing world.


Emerging is an HR consultancy specialized in the relations between corporate companies and institutions of Higher Education, and focused on optimizing recruitment and the integration of young talents.
Emerging produces the Global Employability University Ranking since 2010.

Your contact at Emerging:

Sandrine BELLOC | info@emerging.fr