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New LinkedIn university rankings measure Dal grads’ employment

Perfecting your LinkedIn profile doesn't necessarily lead to job offers. ••• Photo by Alice Hebb
Perfecting your LinkedIn profile doesn’t necessarily lead to job offers. (Photo by Deborah Oomen)

The social networking website LinkedIn lists accounting professionals, finance professionals, investment bankers, marketers and software developers as the most desirable jobs in Canada. Dalhousie doesn’t place high in LinkedIn’s rankings for Canadian undergraduate universities.

LinkedIn analyzes data from its users to determine which universities produce graduates who work in the most ‘desirable’ jobs. “We define a desirable job to be a job at a desirable company for the relevant profession,” reads the blog post by LinkedIn developer Navneet Kapur. “For each university and profession, we then calculate the percentage of relevant graduates who have obtained desirable jobs.”

LinkedIn did not respond to the Gazette’s request for more information about how the company decides what jobs are considered desirable.

Dal ranks as the 9th-best university for finance professionals, 13th for accounting professionals and 20th for software developers. The university isn’t featured on the lists for investment bankers or marketers.

Second-year political science student Carli Gardner is considering minoring in business. She doesn’t like the Dal business class she’s taken, so she may apply to the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business for her final two years.

But as she’s taken business classes, Gardner said that she’s discovered that she doesn’t like the field.

“My more pragmatic side is like, ‘You should stay in business because you need a job,’ ” she said. “Writing political philosophy papers isn’t going to put food on the table.”

Dal was recently placed as number 235 on the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings. When Dalhousie appears in rankings like these, the university is required to send in its own data for the rankings.

The QS World University Rankings evaluate schools based on criteria like their faculties, the employer reputation and the faculty-student ratio.

“If Dalhousie graduates are not on LinkedIn then they don’t ‘count’ towards the university’s ranking,” says Janet Bryson, Dalhousie’s senior communications advisor.

“While these new rankings are worth watching, at this point the methodology used is not sufficiently robust or transparent to include them as a key ranking for Dalhousie’s participation.”

According to LinkedIn, Dal grads are most likely to work in education or healthcare services and operations.

Another feature of LinkedIn, LinkedIn Education, helps prospective students find schools that produce graduates in their desired field. Dal isn’t listed among the 30 universities with programs in business, management or marketing.

First-year computer science and business management student Richard Hugessen says he was surprised to hear that his university, Wilfred Laurier, ranked in the top three schools to produce investment bankers and marketers.

Hugessen says he didn’t come to Laurier for the reputation, but for the education.

“I’d like to think that I’d be equally employable if I went to whatever school,” he says, “and that it should be my skills that differentiate me.”

Anita Hovey, a social media consultant for Twirp Communications, says LinkedIn is more useful for headhunting and previewing a job candidate. Job offers can occur from LinkedIn searches, but she said she doesn’t know of anyone who has received one.

“I can’t imagine that somebody is going to look at it and say, ‘Oh, they went to Dalhousie. Dalhousie doesn’t have a very good reputation on here, I’m not going to hire them,’ ” she says. “I don’t think we’re there yet.”

Gardner is still concerned about what jobs LinkedIn rates as desirable.

“It seems like everybody’s turning toward business these days,” she says. “That business is going to solve the mysteries of the world. Business is going to give us the meaning to life. Like, really, is it? We’re placing so much importance on business and I don’t even know what it’s getting us.”

Sabina Wex
Sabina Wex
Sabina is the Gazette's Managing Editor. Email Sabina at managing@dalgazette.com.
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