The University of Cape Town (UCT) has won a spot among the top 100 universities worldwide, securing 91st position in the 2020 Quacquarelli-Symonds (QS) Graduate Employability Rankings published today.

This ranking provides insight into an institution’s graduate employability outcomes and prospects at a global level, and this is the first time UCT has placed within the top 100 on this list.

The university also maintained the leading position among South African institutions, and on the continent.

“This result is evidence of the exceptional calibre of UCT’s graduates and the institution as a whole,” said Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng.

“We know the quality of our graduates is high, but this just confirms it for the international community.”

Phakeng pointed out however that, as with any university ranking system, “it’s difficult to capture all the complexities involved, particularly globally”.


“We know the quality of our graduates is high, but this just confirms it for the international community.”


This year’s rankings published results for 501 institutions, including six in South Africa. UCT sits among the top 18%.

How they work

To produce these annual rankings, QS considers five indicators with different weightings:

  • Employer reputation (30%): how well reputed the institution is among employers. This indicator is based on more than 44 000 responses to the QS Employer Survey, which asks employers to identify the most competent, innovative, effective graduates.
  • Alumni outcomes (25%): whether the institution is nurturing high-achievers. This indicator looks at the alumni on more than 150 lists of high-achievers.
  • Partnerships with employers (25%): how connected the institution is to employers. This indicator captures the number of collaborative publications with global companies and work-placement related partnerships.
  • Employer–student connections (10%): the extent of employer presence on campus. This is a measure of the number of companies that have been present at events on campus and that have promoted themselves on university websites.
  • Graduate employment rate (10%): the proportion of recent graduates who are employed. This indicator considers the proportion of graduates employed within one year of graduation (excluding those who opt to study further).

UCT’s performance

The two indicators where UCT performed best were graduate employment rate and alumni outcomes. In the former, UCT scored 95.6 out of the possible total of 100, ranking 35th globally. In the latter, UCT placed 34th with a score of 91.5.

But the university’s biggest improvement was in the employer reputation indicator, where UCT jumped up 29 places.

“This improvement reflects the growing recognition and awareness of the excellent quality of the graduates that UCT cultivates,” said Nawaal Boolay, Careers Service acting director.