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The Exemplas Combined Employability League Table

We work with existing careers services to enhance their employability support, so we are always very interested to follow the work of top-performing careers services. You may have seen our recent blog posts where we looked at the top scorers for ‘Graduate Prospects’ from The Complete University Guide University League Tables 2019 and top scorers for ‘Industry Connections’ from The Times Higher Education National Students Experience Survey (NSES) 2018. Now, we’ve compared these tables with the ‘Career after 6 months’ category of the Guardian university league tables 2019, to create our Exemplas Combined Employability League Table*. 

What are these 10 career services doing?:

1st – Imperial College London

‘In a competitive employment marketplace, being in possession of an excellent degree is not a guarantor of an excellent job. Companies seek graduates who are employable: those who possess an excellent scientific background, professional skills and personal transferable skills. The degree course in Chemistry provides many opportunities for skills development. Professional skills are incorporated into the many and varied elements of the degree course and acquired alongside and during the study of Chemistry.’ ( 2018 ‘Employability and professional skills’ [ONLINE] Available here)

2nd – London School of Economics & Political Science

‘Many of the world’s leading experts can be found at LSE; individuals who are at the forefront of developments in the social sciences. Their expertise is called upon by governments, companies and media around the globe and they share their real-world experience with the School’s students.’

‘[LSE] enjoys an easy interchange of ideas with the external environment – Westminster, the City, the Law Courts and the media are all on the School’s doorstep.’ ( 2018 ‘The London School of Economics & Political Science’ [ONLINE] Available here).

3rd – University of Bath

Our regular contact with employers means we are very aware of the kind of skills and personal attributes graduate recruiters are looking for. Our position within the University makes us aware of the range of opportunities available to students which can help them develop these skills and attributes. ( 2018 ‘Employability’ [ONLINE] Available here).

4th – University of Cambridge

‘The [Careers] Service’s website carries over 5,500 graduate-level vacancies across all employment sectors, from investment banking to a career in academia, from publishing to think tanks. Many of these employers visit Cambridge, attending one of the Service’s 14 careers events held every year. They are keen to meet you, to give you the opportunity to interview them before they interview you.’ ( 2018 ‘Careers Service’ [ONLINE] Available here).

5th – Loughborough University

In the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2018, Loughborough was in first place overall, scoring 85.1% and in the ‘Industry Connections’ category they achieved 2nd place, scoring 88.8%. Loughborough holds the UK’s largest annual careers fair and all undergraduates have the option to complete a year in industry as part of their course.

‘Our aim as part of the Loughborough experience is to equip our students for every aspect of their life and career. Employers are impressed by the energy, enthusiasm and competitiveness Loughborough graduates demonstrate. With placement options available on every undergraduate course we pride ourselves on supporting our students to gain the vital experience and develop the skills employers seek. For this reason, we are ranked top 10 in the UK for graduate prospects in the Guardian and Complete University Guides 2018.’ ( 2018 ‘Graduate Employability’ [ONLINE] Available here).

6th- University of Oxford

‘All Oxford graduates’ impressive skill-sets are highly sought after by employers, so whatever degree course you study, you will have a very wide choice of careers’.( 2018 ‘Future Prospects’ [ONLINE] Available here).

Subject-specific graduate support is also offered by some departments: ‘The Faculty of Philosophy runs a placement scheme which supports graduate research students pursuing an academic career from their final year until they secure a tenure track or permanent position. The Department of Chemistry runs an annual careers conference for graduate students. Many other departments offer their own tailored advice and guidance.’ ( 2018 ‘Specialist careers support from academic departments’ [ONLINE] Available here).

7th – University of Birmingham

Earlier this year, Birmingham was ranked second as one of the universities most targeted by top employers in the UK in High Fliers Graduate Market 2018 report.

‘The Alumni Leadership Mentor Programme offers a number of students the opportunity to receive one-to-one mentoring from high profile Birmingham alumni, including former Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson and Green Wing actress Tamsin Greig.’

‘The award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) enables students to gain accreditation in a range of leadership, management and life skills that are essential for the modern workplace.’ ( 2018.’University of Birmingham’ [ONLINE] Available here).

8th – University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham has a number of innovative programs to support students to develop their employability skills, including the Nottingham Internship Scheme where students and graduates can complete work experience with local or national employers; the Ingenuity Lab supporting students and graduates to start their own business; the Nottingham Advantage Award, an employability award that has itself won awards; and the e-mentoring scheme connecting students with professional alumni.

( 2018 ‘The University of Nottingham’ [ONLINE] Available here).

9th – University of Leeds

Leeds features an award winning careers team and the Leeds for Life initiative to build employability skills and gain work experience. ‘We aim to provide our students with an outstanding education, opportunities for all-round personal growth and a life-changing experience. Our students are smart, entrepreneurial and highly employable. They are global citizens, prepared for the future and ready to make a difference.’ 2018 ‘Recruit our students’ [ONLINE] Available here).

10th – Kings College London

‘While you are at King’s, you will have access to a huge range of opportunities, people and experiences beyond your degree that will help you discover more about yourself, your interests and your abilities, and open up many avenues for your future career success.’( ‘How Does King’s Help With My Career? [ONLINE] Available here).

Who’s missing?

To make it in to our Combined Employability League Table a university would need to have featured in all three surveys (Guardian University League Tables 2019, The Complete University Guide University League Tables 2019, and The Times Higher Education National Students Experience Survey 2018. There were some high-ranking universities that did not make it in to all three tables due to their specialisms, or the number of survey responses, however they’re worthy of a special mention:

St George’s University of London

St Georges came top for ‘Graduate Prospects’ in The Complete University Guide, University League Tables 2019 for the 4th year running with score of 93.6% and 76.6% for ‘Industry Connections’ in The Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey, however they’ve not been included in the Guardian University League Tables 2019.

‘We encourage our students to start thinking about their career options early, and to develop their employability skills during their time at St George’s, both independently and through curriculum-based activities. Our careers service, offered through the University of London, works closely with all of our courses to make sure the best support is given to students at all levels of study. There is also individual support for students throughout their study.’ ( 2018 ‘Boost your career’ [ONLINE] Available here)


Sheffield achieved 82% in the ‘Career after 6 months category’ of the Guardian League Tables 2019 and 82.5% for Graduate Prospects according to the Complete University Guide 2019. However they did not feature in The Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey.

‘The combination of academic excellence and personal skills offered by Sheffield graduates makes them highly sought after in the employment market around the world. The University’s research partners and clients include: Boeing, Rolls Royce, Unilever, Boots, AstraZeneca, GSK, ICI, Slazenger, and many more household names, as well as UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations. Strong links with companies like these guarantee the relevance of Sheffield’s degree programmes and equips graduates for careers at the cutting edge of their chosen field.’ ( 2018 ‘University of Sheffield’ [ONLINE] Available here).

Harper Adams University

Harper Adams specialises in the agricultural and rural sector. They came top of the Student Experience Survey for Industry Connections (90.8%), 68.9% for Graduate Prospects in the Complete University Guide, but did not feature in the Guardian University League Table 2019.

‘Our graduate employment rate is consistently outstanding, thanks to the placement year all students take, our relationships with more than 700 businesses, industry-geared course content, and hard-working graduates with the knowledge and attitude employers need.’ ( 2018 ‘Haprer Adams graduates get jobs’ [ONLINE] Available here).

Royal Vetenary College

A specialist university, RVC came fourth for Industry Connections in the Student Experience Survey (86.4%), however they are not listed in either the Complete University Guide League Tables, or Guardian League Tables for 2019.

‘We encourage our students to start thinking about their career options early on and to develop their employability skills during their time at RVC, both independently and through curriculum-based activities.’

( 2018 ‘Careers’ [ONLINE] Available here).

How we can help your graduates

Our particular expertise is providing employability support that complements and enhances your existing careers services. Working closely with your students and graduates, we equip them with the employment skills to gain their chosen graduate role and we also give them the confidence to progress in their careers. Ultimately, we enable your students and graduates to take control of their own future.

For more information about how Exemplas can support your existing employability service, call 01707 398290 or email

Enjoyed this article?

Earlier this year, we looked at how effective employer engagement and placement support contributed to higher rankings in the The Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2018. Read more.

We also looked at what universities could do to improve their rankings in The Complete University Guide. Read more.


*The 10 university positions shown in our Exemplas Combined Employability League Table are based on an average of the three percentage scores from The Guardian University League Tables 2019, The Complete University Guide University League Table 2019 and The Times Higher Education National Students Experience Survey (NSES) 2018. These tables and surveys each use their own separate metrics and methodologies (and in the case of NSES this includes gathering responses from students). These tables and surveys are completely independent of one another and are shown together here for illustrative purposes only. Some universities have not been included in our combined table as they did not feature in one or more of the original tables / surveys (see the ‘Who’s missing?’ section).