Ranking Universities Based on Career Outcomes

October 1, 2014

More than ever, students go to college because they want to get jobs -- good jobs. To that end, students and parents want to know which schools give them the best chance at getting a desirable job after graduation. This is where we can help.

By analyzing employment patterns of over 300 million LinkedIn members from around the world, we figured out what the desirable jobs are within several professions and which graduates get those desirable jobs. As a result, we are able to rank schools based on the career outcomes of their graduates.

Defining “desirable jobs”
We define a desirable job to be a job at a desirable company for the relevant profession. For example, we define desirable finance jobs as finance jobs at companies desirable for finance professionals.

We start with identifying desirable companies for each profession.We let the career choices of our members tell us how desirable it is to work at a company. To illustrate this, imagine there are two companies, A and B. If more finance professionals are choosing to leave company A to work at company B, the data indicates that getting a finance job at B is more desirable. This is based on the hypothesis that when a professional moves from one company to another, she gives the company she moves to a strong vote of confidence.


Similarly, the ability of a company to retain its employees is a strong indicator of that employer’s attractiveness. So, hypothetically, if A and B are both attracting external employees at similar rates, but A has a much larger employee turnover than B, the data would show B to be a more desirable employer.

In other words, the most desirable companies in a profession are those that are the best at attracting and retaining talent in that profession.

Identifying relevant graduates


Since not every graduate is interested in the same profession, it is only fair to define the relevant graduates as those who end up working in that career. For example, while ranking a school for the category 'Investment Bankers', we only consider graduates from that school who work as investment bankers.

In addition, we want university rankings to reflect recent employment trends. Therefore, we only consider graduates who obtained their degrees within the past eight years.

Ranking universities
We now have both pieces of the puzzle: the graduates who are relevant to a particular profession, and the desirable jobs for that profession. For each university and profession, we then calculate the percentage of relevant graduates who have obtained desirable jobs. These percentages allow us to rank universities based on career outcomes across different professional areas.

As the professional world evolves, we are continually looking to provide university rankings for an increasingly broad spectrum of career paths. Stay tuned!

Click here to start exploring LinkedIn’s University Outcome Rankings.

We would like to thank Ada Yu, Nikita Lytkin and Ryan Sandler for their contributions to this post.

For a more in-depth look at our methodology, check out this document.