Study Finds University of Phoenix Has Most Graduates Working For Top Fortune 500 Companies

When pursuing higher education, a key factor to choosing a university is to look at how successful its graduates are in finding employment. A number of universities are noted for alumni success in this regard including University of Phoenix. The University was recently placed at the top of a list recognizing those with alumni working for premier Fortune 500 companies.

A recent study analyzed 150,000 LinkedIn pages to determine which universities had the most graduates working for 20 of the top Fortune 500 companies. Keep in mind that not all employees or University alumni may have a LinkedIn profile. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the study results and what they can indicate to current and potential students.

Top Universities Represented in the Fortune 500

University of Phoenix ranked in the study’s top spot with 15,924 alumni with LinkedIn profiles stating that they work for a top Fortune 500 company. This includes brands like Amazon, Walmart, Microsoft, Apple, CVS Health, AT&T and Verizon. University of Washington was listed in second place for the study with 14,264 alumni claiming employment at these companies.

When evaluating alumni employment in the Fortune 500, University of Phoenix has great company. The study results also list Pennsylvania State University, University of Texas, University of Washington, University of California, Berkeley, and Cornell University giving way to gainful employment for their graduates. Of the 20 universities on the list, 10 are public universities and two are private for-profit universities: University of Phoenix and Strayer University.

The study also explored the variety of alumni employment across the included Fortune 500 companies. University of Phoenix demonstrated graduates with success at a number of organizations: 2,705 alumni were listed with employment at AT&T, 2,232 with Walmart, 2,213 with Amazon and 2,212 each with Verizon Communications and UnitedHealth Group.

In comparison with University of Washington, which ranked second overall in alumni employment in the Fortune 500 companies in the study, 5,716 graduates listed Amazon as an employer. Other graduates listed Microsoft (7,187), Apple (660) and AT&T (472).

Areas of Study and Fortune 500 Placement

Taking it further, the study took a closer look at coursework and academic focus for these alumni across universities to better understand their contributions to the top Fortune 500. The most common areas of study included information technology and computer science degrees.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “The median annual wage for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers was $110,140 in May 2020.” Also according to the BLS, typical entry-level education is a bachelor’s degree, and “the job outlook for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2020 to 2030.”

Another popular academic focus among those evaluated in the study was accounting. According to the BLS, “Employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 7 percent from 2020 to 2030.” Similar to computer science, a bachelor’s degree is the typical education level needed, and the BLS notes that “the median annual wage for accountants and auditors was $73,560 in May 2020.”

Median incomes are reported by the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics, and are not specific to University of Phoenix graduates. Further, these national averages may include earners at all stages of their career and may not accurately reflect entry level wages or variations by region. Your earning outcome may vary.  University of Phoenix does not guarantee salary level. 

Top Skills for Fortune 500 Employers

University students looking to round out their skill sets can take note of the skills that top 10 Fortune 500 employers look for. These companies value a blend of hard and soft skills that combine topical knowledge with an ability to put ideas into action.

Understanding of Microsoft Office products is often helpful on a daily basis for creating documents, plans, and emails. Leadership skills can also help forward-thinking, independent and confident individuals make an impact. Degree programs such as management and business programs can offer opportunities to cultivate this mix of hard and soft skills.

With the popularity of IT roles and prevalence of technology across industries, learning a programming language can be a way to stand out.  There are opportunities beyond jobs in the IT sector. Companies in the legal, healthcare and communications fields need specialists adept at understanding Ruby, Python, Java, and SQL.

Customer service and sales are major requirements in many businesses. Public speaking is another skill that most employers like to see in potential employees. Being able to communicate effectively with customers and colleagues can help professionals go further in their careers.

Funding Education for Employees

While the study shows how education from a group of universities can help with employment at a Fortune 500 company, it is also worth noting that some companies are paying their employees to go to college including Amazon.

In addition to paying for college, Amazon will also cover costs for GEDs, other high school diploma programs and English as a second language certifications. The company also plans to pay for three education programs to help employees learn IT, data center maintenance and technology, research design and user experience.

This isn’t new to Amazon. Its earlier Career Choice Program previously paid 95 percent of fees, tuition and textbooks, covering up to $12,000 over four years for those who worked for Amazon for at least a year. The old program was limited to certain associate’s degrees and certificate programs. Another change is that Amazon will pay the tuition and fees in advance instead of reimbursing students.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is dedicated to helping education become more diverse by helping non-traditional students earn degrees and pursue their chosen career paths. The University is innovating offerings and programs to match real-world changes in the economy and employer expectations. By serving a diverse student population with multiple education paths including doctoral-level degrees, University of Phoenix makes it possible for students to reach for more in their professional and personal development journeys. Visit for more information.