A study of graduate vacancies and starting salaries at one hundred of the United Kingdom's best-known and most successful employers, conducted in December 2010, by reputed market research firm High Fliers reveals that Cambridge University tops the list of the most targeted Universities among these recruiters in 2011, overtaking Manchester which had held the first position over the last five years. Others in the top five this year are Warwick, Manchester, London (including Imperial College, University College and London School of Economics) and Oxford.

The report, titled The Graduate Market in 2011, is based on recruitment trends, figures and preferences obtained from the organizations listed in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2010. The most targeted universities are expected to witness the most active recruitment efforts of the employers by way of career fairs, local presentations or other university recruitment promotions.

The ranking of these universities in order of preference among employers (as indicated by the High Fliers report) throws up some surprises when compared to their ranking in the latest edition of The Times Good University Guide (2011). Most notably, the historically high ranking of Manchester's dip in the rating is a surprise as it is not even among the top twenty in the Times Good University Guide. On the other hand, St Andrews and Lancaster, which occupy fourth and tenth positions respectively in the latter, fail to make it to the High Fliers list of twenty universities most-targeted by leading employers in Britain.

The high places held by Oxford and Cambridge, however, do not pose any such inconsistencies as not only do they occupy the top two positions in the Good University Guide, but are also ranked at 2nd and 3rd positions respectively according to employer review in another highly regarded global university ranking - viz., the QS World University Rankings 2010. Imperial College and the University College are also both consistently ranked highly in both the Times and QS guides.