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IDP survey: Australia good for graduate opportunity

International students still perceive the USA and the UK as top destinations for a quality education, however, according to the latest IDP Buyer Behaviour research of student perceptions, Australia is considered among the best study destinations for graduate employment opportunities.

"Most students still agree having an international degree makes them more attractive to prospective employers at home”

IDP, the Australia-based global education agency, presented its latest research findings at the recent AIEC conference in Brisbane, which did in fact feature a number of sessions that highlighted student employability as a topic.

Australia’s generous Post-Study Work (PSW) rights will be one reason for the strong score in this area. But at AIEC, one panel featuring international students called for still more to be done in terms of ensuring employers are aware that international students can now be so easily employed.

This latest poll is the fourth of its kind from IDP and has drawn responses from 1,000 students across the company’s services network.

The survey also found that Canada and New Zealand were considered the most affordable and safe destinations, with welcoming visa policies.

While the US ranked highest by quality, it scored lowest for safety, and the UK fared poorly in terms of perceptions of affordability.

IDP’s Chief Strategy Officer, Warwick Freeland, noted that international education remains a consumer-driven market, and he hopes the research will aid the sector in becoming “even more responsive to the people we serve.”

This year’s Canada-based students said their study experience has exceeded their expectations

“Ultimately, students looking to study abroad will go where they can get the best overall value, and that is measured by access to better skills and knowledge, resulting in better career outcomes,” he commented.

The survey also revealed that around 40% of those students surveyed sought to gain work overseas after finishing their studies, however 45% said that it would not be easy to find work in their chosen career field.

Close to 50% of students also expected some level of institutional involvement for career support, particularly in helping develop their soft skills.

“The study provides early insights into the expectations of international students around employability and perceived barriers, future intentions, career goals and the anticipated role of institutions in career-related support,” Lyndell Jacka, Head of Research at IDP Education told The PIE News.

Lyndell Jacka

Lyndell Jacka speaks to The PIE about the research highlights

“Although economic and market conditions are key barriers to gaining a career related job, opportunities for work experience are also important, suggesting that education and employment are intrinsically linked,” she added.

As well as increased competition among the leading study destinations, Freeland noted a “warning sign” that should shake off complacency: nearly 60% of surveyed students agreed that quality of the higher education institutions in their home country is improving.

“However, most students still agree having an international degree makes them more attractive to prospective employers at home”, he assured.

Canada has maintained its place as strong for post-study work opportunities, aided by the ability to work during studies, and this has been reflected by this year’s Canada-based students who said their study experience has exceeded their expectations.

New Zealand is also emerging as one of the study destinations to make the most progress. “New Zealand is raising its profile with it now being perceived to have the most welcoming student visa policies, matched by being safe and affordable,” said Jacka.

Meanwhile, the UK’s removal of the post-study work route in 2012 has negatively impacted student perceptions and it is now also considered the most expensive destination.

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