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Indian universities lagging behind global competitors, not fully preparing students for modern workplace, says UK study

London: Indian universities are ceding ground to global competitors in preparing students for the modern workplace, according to new data analysis released on Thursday from the ‘Global University Employability Ranking’. The annual ranking, produced by French HR consultancy Emerging and published by the ‘Times Higher Education’, lists the top 150 institutions worldwide for employability, based on a global survey of around 7,000 recruitment and international managers from major businesses.

The Harvard University topped the list, followed by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The leading Indian institutions in terms of employability are the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and Bombay.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“India’s performance in the employability ranking has been somewhat inconsistent since the list was first launched in 2011. It still only counts three universities in the top 150, suggesting it’s struggling to make the reputational ground with employers that some other Asian nations have achieved,” said Simon Baker, Data Editor at ‘Times Higher Education’.

The ranking shows that while India has seen some improvement to its representation and institutional positions in the table since 2011, it has not kept pace with advances made by other countries in the region and globally. “There is some solid improvement this year for India, however. In the 2018 global listing, the Indian Institute of Science rises one position to 28th, while the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi soars this year to place global 53rd, from 145 last year,” notes the report.

The 2018 report reveals that most countries value soft skills, such as collaboration and communication – whereas harder, practical skills are valued most in China. There is also a noticeable difference in the emphasis placed on graduates having critical thinking skills between countries in East Asia and Europe or North America. In the US, 90 per cent of employers rated critical thinking skills as very important, while in China this fell to 75 per cent.

“Today’s digital world makes for a constantly evolving workplace – the skills required in many roles will need regular updating and it has become impossible to determine which of them will change tomorrow, and how,” said Laurent Dupasquier, Managing Partner at Emerging.

“While digital skills are increasingly valued by recruiters, more than anything, universities must instil in students the capacity to adapt and keep learning: these will be crucial skills for success not only to cope, but thrive in a transforming workplace. University-industry collaboration will also be of increasing value, in order provide students with the necessary on-the-ground experience,” he said.

The US continues to dominate the ranking as the data analysis reveals a swiftly narrowing global employability gap. America has 34 institutions in the top 150 this year, compared to 55 in 2011, with six universities in the top 10 – a fall from seven last year. The UK largely holds its position in this year’s ranking – retaining 10 institutions. But US and UK universities are also found to be struggling to keep pace with global competitors in preparing students for the modern workplace.

“The new data analysis reveals a substantial global shift in graduate employability this decade. We see a dramatically improved performance within East Asia and parts of Europe,” adds Simon Baker. “By-and-large, the highest risers are those equipping students with softer skills increasingly favoured among recruiters, such as teamwork – combined with the strongest possible industry experience,” he notes.

To produce the 2018 ‘Global University Employability Ranking’, an online survey was completed by two panels of participants between May and September 2018. The panels included respondents from 22 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Sweden, the UK and the US.


Updated Date: Nov 16, 2018 13:59 PM