NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New global research commissioned by Kaplan, one of the world’s largest and most diverse education providers, and conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) shows that international experience in higher education is an important factor improving the chances of finding a job and succeeding in an increasingly global workforce.
The research, which is based on a survey conducted by the (EIU) among recent graduates from Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Singapore, the UK and the US, also shows that few students recognize the value of overseas experience before graduation. Many turn down opportunities to gain a more global perspective offered by their educators. Graduates say international work experience would have been helpful, but note it was not frequently offered. In addition, the study found that international preparedness is highly promoted in some countries, but less so in others.
“Graduates with international experience tend to find employment faster than those without it. Languages, intercultural awareness and overseas contacts are highly valued by potential employers,” said Andrew Rosen, Kaplan’s chief executive officer. “This research seeks to understand how universities, companies and students themselves can better prepare for the global workplace.”
The key findings of the survey are as follows:
- Graduates believe that institutions of higher education have a responsibility to prepare them for today’s global economy and workforce. Three out of four respondents agree that it is part of the role of universities and colleges to prepare them by offering access to international experience. And almost as many (70%) feel that their higher education has challenged their beliefs and exposed them to different cultures and ways of thinking beyond their home country.
- Most students have access to international experiences during their studies, but only a minority take advantage of them. Opportunities to gain international experience during their studies were available to 75% of respondents. Most (69%) were offered the chance to study overseas, while 62% had access to foreign language courses and 55% to international cultural exchanges. But only 34% of those with access to international experience actually pursued it.
- Many students do not realize the importance of international exposure until after graduation, when its full value becomes clearer. Half of respondents feel that they failed to recognize the value of international experience during their studies, suggesting that higher education institutions may need to help students recognize the benefits of participation.
- International experience in higher education is seen as improving the chances of finding a job. More than twice as many people who were employed within six months had international experience than those still unemployed.
About the research
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) conducted a survey as part of a global research effort into international experiences available in higher education institutions and their impact on employment. Of the 1,072 recent graduates who participated in the survey, 10% were drawn from Australia, 8% from Brazil, 10% from China, 10% from France, 10% from Germany, 11% from Italy, 10% from Singapore, 11% from the UK and 21% from the US. They were born between 1985 and 1993 and graduated between 2011 and 2016 with either a bachelor’s or undergraduate degree (65%); a master’s degree or equivalent (29%); a PhD or equivalent (4%); or another professional degree (2%). Of those surveyed, 29% had studied Humanities or Liberal Arts, 35% STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) subjects, 28% were pre-professional, and 20% took vocational or career-focused studies. The online survey was conducted in March 2016.
The EIU also conducted in-depth interviews with experts and global employers in this area to provide a further dimension to the broad research findings. We are grateful to the following for their time and insights (listed alphabetically):
- Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, president, National University of Singapore
- David Fairhurst, chief people officer, McDonald’s
- Lynda Gratton, professor of management practice, London Business School
- Nick Hillman, director, Higher Education Policy Institute, Oxford
- Andre Martin, vice president for talent development and chief learning officer, Nike, and formerly chief learning officer, Mars
- Professor Enrico Sangiorgi, vice rector for education, University of Bologna
- Juichi Yamagiwa, president of Kyoto University
Kaplan, Inc. is among the world’s largest, most diverse education providers. Kaplan offers its one million-plus students and thousands of business and institutional partners an array of trans-national education services, including: higher education, test preparation, professional training and certification, English-language tutoring, and international university pathway programs. Kaplan is the largest subsidiary of the Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC).