The reputation of a university is important as it will increase your opportunities when you graduate. Although it’s not the only factor - your degree, grade, skills, work experience and extra-curricular activities will all affect your employment chances - if an employer knows the name of your university you’ve got that automatic added advantage. The Times Higher Education publishes a World Reputation Ranking which gives you a brief insight into how well your university is regarded, while you might also want to think about the reputation on your chosen subject at that university.

Most of the UK and world higher education league tables can be broken down into individual subject rankings. This will give you an idea of how highly a degree in your chosen subject from your chosen university will be regarded by employers. Having said this, different league tables use different criteria to asses the strength of each university so you have to be careful which one you use.  To find out more about how league tables are structured, see our dedicated page.


Another thing to consider when choosing which degree course is right for you, is how well it will prepare you for the world of work. University employability statistics can be found online through the various league tables, whilst our university guides show you both the average graduate salary and the number of graduates in further study or work. However, these figures can be misleading.

Green bicycle in front of a building with the Work in front of it

The best way to find out what skills you will gain, is to look into the opportunities within your course. As mentioned, some courses offer students the chance to spend a year in industry, which can really boost your CV. Others may run special industrial placement modules or modules teaching workplace skills, all of which are useful when it comes to looking for a job afterwards.

Additionally, many university courses are validated by or created in conjunction with employers. Where this is the case, graduates will gain an explicit skill set, which will be immediately recognisable to employers. This is particularly useful for more vocational courses.

If you are looking to join one of the UK’s leading employers many concentrate their employment efforts on a few universities whom they consider to create leading candidates. In attending one of these universities you’ll be more likely to be able to build a relationship with employers and in turn, gain top-notch employment.  The universities targeted by the largest number of employers in 2019/20 were:

1 University of Manchester 11 University of Durham
2 University of Birmingham 12 University of Exeter
3 University of Warwick 13 University of Edinburgh
4 The University of Bristol 14 Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
5 The University of Cambridge 15 University of Bath
University of Nottingham 16 King's College London
7 University of Leeds 17 London School of Economics and Political Science
8 University College London 18 Newcastle University
9 The University of Sheffield 19 Queen Mary, University of London
10 The University of Oxford 20 University of Southampton

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