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University of Sydney beats Oxford, Cambridge in new global rankings

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The University of Sydney produces graduates that are more employable than those from Cambridge, Oxford and Columbia, according to a new global rankings measure. 

The QS Graduate Employability Rankings assessed 300 universities worldwide against five criteria: employer reputation, alumni outcomes, partnerships with employers, employer/student connections and graduate employment rates. 

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It surveyed 37,000 employers and mapped the careers of 21,000 individuals worldwide to determine the rankings. 

On this basis the University of Sydney placed fourth worldwide, after Stanford and MIT in the US, and Tsinghua University in China. 

The University of Melbourne ranked joint eleventh, while ANU and Monash University made the top 50 globally. 

UNSW does not appear in the list because it chose to opt out. 

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The success of Australia's universities in the global employability rankings is based in large part on their industry partnership programs, Ben Sowter, head of research at QS said. 

"The 2017 instalment of this ranking illustrates that universities with a heavy STEM focus are generally among the most successful in nurturing student employability," he said. 

"This ranking indicates that efforts made by Australian universities to establish themselves as industry-friendly knowledge hubs are paying dividends for their students."

QS or Quacquarelli Symonds ran the employability rankings for the first time as a pilot last year. Universities are permitted to opt-out, unlike in other rankings systems

Tracey McNicol from ANU's Planning and Performance Management division said "for a university to perform well in this ranking they need to not only engage widely with employers but ensure that graduates leave their institutions with the skills and attributes that are relevant to the needs of employers."

Best in the country for employability: The University of Sydney.

Best in the country for employability: The University of Sydney. Photo: Rob Homer

The news will be a boost for the University of Sydney which sits behind the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University in the general rankings such as the Times Higher Ed and the Academic Ranking of World Universities. 

Similarly, in the QS global rankings this year, Sydney ranked the 46th best university in the world, behind Melbourne (42nd) and ANU (22nd).

The University of Sydney's Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence said it was committed to providing students with opportunities they need to thrive in the workforce. 

"Equipping students with the knowledge, skills, values and purpose to serve society at every level and to lead the way in improving people's lives has been our mission since the University was founded in 1850," he said. 

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