LinkedIn as a data source to measure the capacity of universities to train professionals

Alicia Moreno-Delgado, Doctoral candidate, Universidad Internacional de La Rioja, La Rioja, Spain.

Enrique Orduña-Malea, Associate Professor, Departamento de Comunicación Audiovisual, Documentación e Historia del Arte, Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain.

Rafael Repiso, Associate Professor, Departamento de Comunicación, Universidad Internacional de La Rioja, La Rioja, Spain.

Image: Lebens-lauf

Researchers from the Universidad Internacional de La Rioja and Universitat Politècnica de València analysed whether LinkedIn offers an opportunity to study the employability level of a university through an indicator based on graduates employed in IBEX35 companies, using LinkedIn as a source of data. The article “LinkedIn as a data source to rank universities according to graduate’s employability in top companies” published in the journal Transinformação (vol. 32), also aims to determine whether aspects such as the location of the universities, their age, their methodology (face-to-face and online) or their legal status (public or private) are related to the ability of their graduates to obtain employment in top companies.

To this end, they analysed the presence of 3.716.720 graduates from eighty Spanish universities employed by companies in the IBEX35 price index. The number of graduates working in different companies was obtained from the Alumni section of the LinkedIn profile of studied universities between April and May 2018. Using this data, the researchers generated an indicator based on the percentage of graduates from a university who work in IBEX35 companies that eventually was used to elaborate a ranking. Thus, the Universidad Menéndez Pelayo and the Pontificia Comillas ranked in the top positions. However, in absolute numbers, the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (10.043) and the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (8.410) are the universities which contribute with the highest percentage of graduates to the IBEX35.

The study concludes that the number of hired graduates is affected by both the size of the university and its age. The researchers have also identified how, on average, distance learning universities provide more graduates to IBEX35 companies than the face-to-face universities analysed. Furthermore, they have noted how the location of the institutions is closely related to recruitment, showing a high concentration of graduates employed by IBEX35 companies in the specific areas where these companies are located as suggested by previous studies (MORENO-DELGADO; MALEA; REPISO, 2020; ORDUNA-MALEA; FONT; ONTALBA-RUIPÉREZ, 2017).

However, the researchers highlighted that the indicator of employability provided is not precise enough to be used directly in university rankings. In this sense, the study identifies and describes the main limitations of LinkedIn when it comes to obtaining university employability data in companies, but also demonstrates its capacity to represent this reality online. LinkedIn is presented as a database with considerable potential due to the enormous amount of information it provides on graduates, universities, companies, and the relationships between these elements (KOMLJENOVIC, 2019; ORDUNA-MALEA; FONT; ONTALBA-RUIPÉREZ, 2017). LinkedIn is to university employability data, what Google Scholar is for access to academic data.


KOMLJENOVIC, J. Linkedin, platforming labour, and the new employability mandate for universities. Globalisation, Societies and Education [online]. 2019, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 28-43. e-ISSN: 1476-7732 [viewed 11 December 2020]. Available from:

MORENO-DELGADO, A., MALEA, E. O. and REPISO, R. (2020). Relevancia de la ubicación en la relación Universidad-Empresa: análisis de la procedencia de los egresados de universidades españolas en empresas del IBEX35. Revista General de Informacion y Documentacion [online], 2020, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 297-312. e-ISSN 1988-2858 [viewed 11 December 2020]. Available from:

ORDUNA-MALEA, E., FONT, C. I. and ONTALBA-RUIPÉREZ, J.-A. (2017). From universities to private companies: a measurable route of LinkedIn users. In: CABRERA, M. and LLORET, N. (ed.). Digital tools for academic branding and self-promotion. IGI Global, 2017. pp. 127-150. Available from:

To read the articles, acess

MORENO-DELGADO, A. et al. LinkedIn as a data source to rank universities according to graduate’s employability in top companies. Transinformação [online]. 2020, vol. 32, e200023. ISSN: 2318-0889 [viewed 11 December 2020]. Available from:

External links

Transinformação – TINF:


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

MORENO-DELGADO, A., ORDUÑA-MALEA, E. and REPISO, R. LinkedIn as a data source to measure the capacity of universities to train professionals [online]. SciELO in Perspective: Humanities, 2021 [viewed ]. Available from:


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