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UK: Asian, black students benefit most from study abroad, IU reports

Black and Asian students benefit the most from a period of study overseas, with a bigger gap than average in unemployment rates between mobile and non-mobile graduates of UK universities, according to a new report from the UK’s Higher Education International Unit.

Of the 245,620 UK-domiciled students who graduated in the 2013/14 academic year, 13,355 went abroad. Photo: University of Roehampton

5% of all mobile graduates in the UK were unemployed compared with 7% of non-mobile graduates

Almost 10% (9.9%) of non-mobile black graduates were unemployed six months after completing their studies, compared with 5.4% of those who participated in a mobility programme.

And looking at Asian graduates, only 4.4% of those who spent a period of time overseas were unemployed, compared to 9.5% of their non-mobile counterparts not in employment.

“It’s the evidence that demonstrates the importance of this work”

On average, in the 2013/14 graduating cohort, only 5% of all mobile graduates in the UK were unemployed six months after completing their studies compared with 7% of non-mobile graduates.

The report also highlights, however, that participation among the ethnic groups whose employability is most likely to benefit from study abroad is significantly lower than among white students.

On average, 2.9% of black students participate in a mobility programme, compared with 5.8% of white students. Only 3.3% of Asian students participate in a mobility programme.

IU report

The report, Gone International: the value of mobility, is the second edition from IU, which looked at data from HESA enrolment data and the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey for 2013/14.

It compiled data from 245,620 UK-domiciled students, who graduated in the 2013/14 academic year.

Of these students, 13,355 had participated in a mobility programme at some point in their course.

Anne-Marie Graham, head of programme, outward student mobility at IU, said that widening participation is one of the organisation’s strategies.

“I think that actually having this evidence will help them make the case internally for why perhaps resource is important to devote to this,” she told The PIE News.

The salary for mobile graduates was £21,349 over £800 more than those who did not go abroad

“If they can demonstrate impact then they may be able to get more resource for their activities to help them increase wider participation.”

Furthermore, those with a mobility experience are also more likely to gain employment within one of the top three socioeconomic classifications.

Around three quarters of these graduates were employed as managers, senior officials or in professional occupations, compared with two thirds who had not studied abroad.

Participating in a mobility experience also had a positive impact on graduate salaries: the report also shows that, on average, the salary for mobile graduates was £21,349 over £800 more than those who did not go abroad as part of their study (£20,519).

Graham said that the report will inform IU’s action plan to increase participation from under-represented groups.

“It’s the evidence that demonstrates the importance of this work, which we hope will help the whole of the sector’s efforts to increase participation,” she said.

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