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IDP hits record $928m revenue as Australia recruitment returns

Student recruitment and marketing giant IDP Education has reported a record revenue of AUS $982 million in the 2023 financial year, up from $793m, as international students return to Australia.

IDP placed 24% more students in Australia, compared to 2019. Photo: Pexels.

Revenue from IELTS fell by 5% in India

Income from student recruitment to Australia was up by 86% in 2023 at $152m, while other destinations were up by 49% to $199m.

Total placement volumes for Australia were up 24% compared to 2019, the last year unaffected by the pandemic.

IDP placed 84,600 international students globally in 2023, a record for the company. UK recruitment revenue increased by 53%, Canada by 44% and USA by 45%.

But revenue from IELTS, the company’s English language test division, fell by 5% in India, which IDP said was due to less demand for studying in Canada.

“The lower testing volumes for Canada reflects a period of visa processing delays and elevated rejection rates which contributed to a decline in sentiment towards Canada as a destination,” the company wrote in its full year results presentation.

IDP acquired IELTS in India from British Council for £130m in 2021.

Outside of India, IELTS volumes were up 18% with “strong performance” from growing markets including Vietnam, Pakistan and Nigeria. IDP reported a record number of test-takers, administering 1.93 million in the 2023 financial year.

Overall IELTS revenue grew by 7%, in part due to price increases across the majority of markets.

The results follow the appointment of a new CEO and managing director, Tennealle O’Shannessy, who joined IDP in February 2023, replacing Andrew Barkla after seven years at the helm. Barkla has recently been appointed as a non-executive director on the IDP board.

“We helped more students and test takers than ever before”

O’Shannessy said IDP’s “strong performance” reflects the company’s position “as a leader in the growing global education services sector”.

“This year, we helped more students and test takers than ever before as our customers realised their global ambitions for study, career and migration,” she said.

English language teaching also saw a post-pandemic bounce-back, with revenue up 62%. IDP noted that volumes had “rebounded” in Cambodia and, globally, prices had increased to reflect the return to classroom learning after the pandemic.

Income from digital marketing and events grew by 10% as institutions invested in events but reduced spend on digital marketing for international students.

Over the past year, IDP has acquired several international education companies, including peer-to-peer chat service The Ambassador Platform and student recruitment company Intake Education.

Intake was acquired for $71m cash on November 1 last year, with the possibility of a further $20.2m on the first anniversary date, subject to a number of conditions.

The company’s headcount increased by 1,500 team members, the majority of them linked to student recruitment, including 300 staff from Intake.

IDP’s travel costs rose by 190% to approximately $7 million, but remained below pre-pandemic levels.

The business also spent 35% more on marketing compared to the previous year, including launching a campaign focused on IELTS in the second half of the financial year.

Looking forward, O’Shannessy said IDP is focused on improving customer experience and enhancing “human connections” through technology and data.

O’Shannessy added, “Since joining IDP I’ve been impressed by the knowledge, expertise and passion that drives our employees to make a difference in the lives of our customers and help them realise global opportunities.

“I look forward to another great year ahead as we continue to deliver a compelling and differentiated offer to our customers.”

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