Recently released statistics covering the 2021 calendar year reveal that students graduating from one of Oxford’s 39 colleges face some of the best career prospects in the UK.
Times Higher Education has recently opened up the data behind their 2021 Global Employability University Ranking and Survey, conducted by Emerging, a consultancy. The findings provide a reason to celebrate for those currently studying hard in the cloisters of the UK’s oldest university.
Oxford University placed #8 in the global ranking of 250 universities, placing beneath only one rival UK institution Cambridge University (#4) in the list this year.
This ranking reflected the views of hundreds of recruiters, who were surveyed on a scientific basis and in a geographically proportionate distribution. After adjusting for other factors, the UK has remained one of the most over-represented locations for high employability.
What careers do Oxford graduates pursue after leaving university?
Students of the iconic undergraduate course Politics, Philosophy & Economics (known as PPE) have traditionally found themselves in the government, politics and the media. Consider this witty and damning introduction penned by the Guardian’s Andy Beckett when discussing this course back in 2015:
“An Oxford University graduate in philosophy, politics and economics (PPE), Ed Miliband, launched the Labour party’s general election manifesto. It was examined by the BBC’s political editor, Oxford PPE graduate Nick Robinson, by the BBC’s economics editor, Oxford PPE graduate Robert Peston, and by the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Oxford PPE graduate Paul Johnson. It was criticised by the prime minister, Oxford PPE graduate David Cameron. It was defended by the Labour shadow chancellor, Oxford PPE graduate Ed Balls.”
Beyond the corridors of power, the Said Oxford Business School produces crops of top business talent each year. The most ambitious of the classes are fiercely competed for by major firms in the financial services sector. Enviable financial careers include becoming a senior accountant for a Big Four practice, an investment banker for a boutique firm or becoming one of the best stockbrokers in the City of London.
The reputation of Oxford Medical Sciences precedes the department. Its 6 year bachelor of medicine degree is sought after by hundreds of aspiring doctors, surgeons and dentists each year, with only 9% of applicants earning a place.
What may surprise you is that the top sector that graduates were working in 15 months after graduation was natural and social sciences. In other words, they were studying people and plants, rather than stocks & shares.
What is Oxford University doing right to maintain high employability?
The University itself points to a well-funded careers service, and a series of summer internships available exclusively for Oxford students.
One of the most interesting initiatives run by the organisation the Oxford Strategy Challenge, a week-long team event in which groups of students help to solve real-world problems faced by businesses. For those who enjoyed the hands-on experience, Oxford encourages students to graduate to the Student Consultancy – an eight week programme with CV-studding potential.
Ultimately, graduates of Oxford University benefit from the esteemed reputation that the name carries. Having a 2:1 or 1st from Oxford on a CV is sure to get a student noticed during even the pickiest of selection processes.
This is why an average of 23,000 prospective candidates apply each year for one of Oxford’s undergraduate programmes, while less than 4,000 places are available.