|A college student prepares for job interview. [Xinhua]|
China has been the strongest performing Asian nation this decade in the Global University Employability Rankings, according to new rankings published on Thursday.
This year's league table, published each year by London-based Times Higher Education (THE), lists the top 150 institutions worldwide for employability, based on a global survey of around 7,000 recruitment and international managers from major businesses.
Chinese mainland retains seven institutions in the 2018 global listing, led by Peking University at 19th.
Hong Kong has four institutions, led by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology at 16th, while Taiwan loses two institutions to increased regional competition -- but with two new institutions included this year.
The National University of Singapore rises this year to join the 2018 global top 10.
Simon Baker, data editor at THE, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview: "China is still the top performer in Asia. Compared with 2011 it has seen the biggest improvement."
"China has seen a rapid rise in keeping with some other rankings. In research based rankings and world university rankings, China has just risen and risen, in the employability ranking in the last four years, a number of universities have stayed the same."
China's overall performance in the ranking has notably risen since 2011, despite facing strong competition from South Korea which has been the highest rising Asian nation in the rankings so far this decade, and has made quick progress with a rise in both its representation and institutional positions.
Baker said South Korea had just one institution in the rankings in 2011 but now has almost as many as Chinese mainland, with six against Chinese mainland's seven.
The overall performance of South Korea's institutions in the 2018 table is up almost two-fold from last year alone.
However, analysis shows that while Chinese mainland has notably improved and continues to dominate in the region, it has not experienced the same surge in recent years.
This may reflect the traditional emphasis placed by Chinese institutions on hard, practical skills, as opposed to softer skills, such as communication and teamwork, which are increasingly favoured by employers.
"One aspect where China may not compete so well is in instilling soft skills for graduates. But it won't be long, judging by places like Singapore's performance, before this is addressed and Chinese universities rise further," Baker said.
He was quick to add that "there is no massive fall, it is just that they are not improving as much. Tsinghua is the top university ranked in Asia for research, but that isn't visible in these data."
The 2018 table is topped by Harvard University in the United States, which climbs one spot to switch places with the country's California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the U.S. and UK's the University of Cambridge both go up one place to third and fourth, while Stanford University of the U.S. rises two places, to place fifth.