This week’s Beaver contains some pretty emotive articles about the potential employability of LSE students. So should you be worried? In a word, no. Both the news article and the comment piece refer to a single element of a for-profit survey.

What is the table that has attracted all this attention and concern? “Universities Targeted by the Largest Number of Top Employers in 2014-2015” (see High Fliers to download the full report). In this table LSE is ranked 12th, appearing below institutions such as Manchester, Nottingham, Leeds and others. The conclusion drawn by the Beaver columnists? This means that LSE students are less employable than students from 11 other UK institutions. Before you also reach that inference, pause and consider the following:

What is the definition of “top employers”?

The employers surveyed are those who appear in the Times Top 100. So how does an employer get into the Times Top 100? It might surprise you to know that this is based on no actual criteria other than a survey of students who are asked “which employer do you think offers the best opportunities for graduates?”. This generated a list of over 1200 organisations, and the ones which appear most often become the Times Top 100. This results in a list of employers ranging from Accenture to WPP by way of McDonalds, Morrisons and the RAF!

What does “targeted” mean?

In the context of this survey, “targeted” refers to employers who have had a physical presence on a university campus, and not, as was intimated in the Beaver article, that applications from those institutions are treated preferentially.

What variables have or haven’t been corrected for?

Well lots, but the main two variables influencing positioning in this list are:

  • discipline mix – LSE is a specialist institution and is understandably not “targeted” by those organisations who are looking for engineers, software developers or other knowledge sets not covered by LSE’s curriculum
  • student numbers – the University of Manchester, for example, has four times the number of students that LSE does

It’s a shame that so much copy space was given to this one table without considering the information in context. LSE Careers would have been happy to talk to the writers and/or provide more information but we were not contacted about these articles.

What is the real story then?

I’d suggest that the targeting of campuses by an arbitrarily derived list of employers is no indication of your future career success. There are, of course, all sorts of surveys, league tables and data sources we could draw on to demonstrate that LSE graduates perform exceedingly well in the labour market, and if you want to access any of that please do visit the LSE graduate destinations web pages, but ultimately your employability is in your hands.

There are currently 1227 opportunities being advertised on LSE CareerHub. Our employer database has 9893 live organisation accounts and 439 unique organisations were physically present on campus last academic year hoping to attract LSE talent.

LSE Careers is here to support you every step of the way. If you have any concerns about your future prospects, are confused about what to do next or simply need some help navigating your way through the graduate recruitment maze, come and see us – it’s what we’re here for.

Jenny Blakesley
Director, LSE Careers