British universities fall behind in employability rankings as foreign institutions teach courses in English

Posted on: 2018-11-15 00:00:00

Universities around the world are now teaching courses in English
Universities around the world are now teaching courses in English

The UK’s position in The Times Higher Education’s (THE) Global Employability Rankings has declined more than any other European country in recent years. 

Meanwhile, the rapid improvement of universities in the East has seen countries - including South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore - rise up in the rankings.

There are now ten British universities in the top 150, down from 15 in 2011. The US, which has also traditionally dominated the rankings, now has 34 institutions in the top 150, down from 55.

The trend for universities around the world to teach courses in English has been a significant factor in Britain and American institutions losing their edge, analysts say.

“Maybe ten years ago the US and UK - Canada and Australia as well - had much more of an advantage,” same Simon Baker, data editor at THE. 

“But more and more they face competition from other countries teaching courses in English. 

“International students who are looking to study abroad don’t just want a top university. English is the most important languages when it comes to business. Learning it is part and parcel of making yourself employable."

He said that universities in continental Europe – as well as those further afield – have realised that offering courses in English is an effective way to boost their appeal.

Cambridge is the highest ranking British institution for employability
Cambridge is the highest ranking British institution for employability

“The biggest example is in the Netherlands – there is a debate about whether they are teaching too much in English as it has become so prevalent. It is part of a drive to attract international students to Netherlands,” Mr Baker told The Daily Telegraph.

“In Germany it is happening more and more, and even France - which is known for being  protective of its language - they are offering courses in English too. Put together with countries like Singapore and Hong Kong, which is a hub for higher education, where English is widely used.”

The employability rankings are compiled by giving each university a score, based on a survey of 7,000 graduate recruiters as well as of managing directors of international companies. 

Germany is the most improved European nation since 2011, with the number of institutions in the top 150 more than doubling. It has overtaken France this year to become the second country overall, behind the US. France is now joint third with the UK.

Another reason for dwindling number UK institutions in the top 150 is due to an increase in the number of Eastern universities entering the rankings for the first time.

“Over the last ten years we have seen the rise of Chinese universities and improvements to top institutions in several Eastern countries,” Mr Baker said.

“We have seen the adjustment of strategy with higher education in continental Europe as well - France was lagging behind but now it has refocused its outlook.”

The highest ranking British university is Cambridge at fourth place, followed by Oxford at eleventh place.

Imperial College, King’s College London, Manchester, Edinburgh, University College London, Bristol, London School of Economics and Political Science and London Business School are also featured in the top 150.

“You’ll never knock Oxford and Cambridge out, but you might see some other British universities that are not so well known fall out and be replaced by a top university in Hong Kong or China,” Mr Baker said.

By Camilla Turner, Education Editor
Source: The Telegraph

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