Imperial College London has dropped nine places in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings, which were released earlier this week, putting it at 29th place.

The rankings, which are “arguably the most extensive attempt to make a global comparison of the employability outcomes achieved by higher education institutions” saw Imperial overtaken by University College London (UCL), which came 17th – this places Imperial as 4th in the UK, with Cambridge (6th) and Oxford (8th) both achieving higher rankings, and 6th in Europe.

However, while Imperial slipped from last year’s rankings, when it came 20th, the scores for the individual metrics measured remained largely consistent. The change is likely due to the fact that this year QS has doubled the number of institutions included, meaning the rankings have become more competitive year-on-year.

The rankings, which are “designed to stress aspects of university life that are of specific interest to career-minded individuals”, look at wide-ranging areas of university life. While Imperial placed 8th globally for ‘Employer Reputation’, which is based on a questionnaire sent out to more than 30,000 employers, it was 57th globally for ‘Alumni Outcomes’, which is based off the alma mater of “high-profile individuals”.

Other metrics used include ‘Partnership with Employers’, ‘Employer-Student Connections’, and ‘Graduate Employment Rate’. This year QS, an educational company based in the UK, introduced new weighting to the different metrics, in an attempt to “reduce the reliance on self-reported figures and provide an enhanced normalisation mechanism for the results – necessary, given their global scale.”

An Imperial College spokesperson said that “Imperial graduates are highly sought after by employers, and secure overall the highest starting salaries amongst UK universities. Imperial’s teaching, shaped by our world-leading research, is delivered in a vibrant and entrepreneurial environment that challenges our students to develop the practical and intellectual skills they need to excel after they graduate.”

Overall the rankings were marked by significant year-on-year volatility. The UK had 14 institutions in the top 100, the same as last year, but only two had maintained a stable position, with seven of the top-100 last year dropping in ranking. The sharpest drop was experienced by Loughborough University, which slipped more than 60 places.