International education has grown over the last decade. More people seek better education opportunities in academic institutions they believe offer quality. The growth of the world economy has also made it easier for students to travel to different parts of the world to study. Many of the students that travel abroad for studies are usually from third world countries. It is common to find such students also seeking employment in their host countries. However, it has proven difficult for international students to secure jobs in their fields of interest in their host countries. There is little literature on why international students experience challenges getting employment. Some of the assumptions that have been made include the fact that the students lack the technical skills needed to work in a developed country.
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Additionally, cultural constraints have been blamed on the same. The study aimed at finding out the reasons why international students have difficulty getting employment. The researcher used three hypotheses to determine some of the reasons why international students find it difficult to get employment in their host country. The first hypothesis (H1) aimed at measuring the relationship between the job market requirements and the technical skills international students have acquired. The second hypothesis (H2) aimed at analyzing the relationship between the job market and the communication skills of international students. The third hypothesis (H3) aimed to determine the relationship between networking skills and the search for jobs in New Zealand regarding international students. The researcher used a quantitative approach and an exploratory data analysis technique.
Avonmore Information and Technology Company’s Open Polytechnic has been chosen for the sample population for the study. Avonmore is a college that gives students modern facilities to learn about IT through a hands-on approach. The company has created a niche in service industries and has also included people-centered courses as opposed to industry-focused classes. The tertiary institution runs an open polytechnic in Christchurch where most international students study. Indeed, much focus has been put on international students. However, management has been thinking of better ways of attracting domestic students. Additionally, the administration is also thinking of broadening the curriculum offered in the school. Currently, the school provides Business Level 7 courses. The strategic plan is to have the Business Level 7 courses also include more in-depth and comprehensive IT units at higher levels. Most important of all is the assurance that all the students who graduate from the school are industry-ready. The college is keen on providing graduates that can get jobs quickly due to their excellent grades, ability to learn more and relevant skills and knowledge. The school has several stakeholders who are interested in producing industry-ready graduates. The primary external stakeholders are the market and industry vendors who will hire the said graduates. The main internal stakeholders are teachers/ faculty and students.
The purpose of this research was to highlight Avonmore’s present affairs, the quality of training offered in the school, and the opportunities for improvements to ensure the college achieved its set targets. More specifically, the research study looked into the reasons why international students who had graduated from the college found it hard to get a job in their desired field. According to Blackmore, Gribble, Farrell, Rahimi, Arber, and Devlin (2014), international students have to stand out from the rest to get jobs in their desired areas. This is particularly true in developed countries. The ease of studying abroad has ensured the saturation of a crowded labor market with international students. To ensure its international students have an advantage over the rest, Avonmore offers the said students more courses on industry management. Despite the institution’s efforts, there still are gaps that make it harder for international students to get employed in New Zealand. The study will provide recommendations on what the college can do to improve the quality of the certificate and its curriculum.
The following were the research objectives:
- To determine factors that make it difficult for international students to get employed In New Zealand.
- To highlight some of the challenges international students face when trying to settle and find work in New Zealand.
Below are some of the research questions:
- Why is it difficult for international students to successfully get employed in New Zealand despite the country publicly recording a shortage of employees in the majority of industries?
- What are some of the challenges international students face when searching for a job in New Zealand?
- What can stakeholders do to ensure international students in New Zealand have an easier time getting employed in their desired fields?
The researcher tried to prove the following hypotheses:
- H1: International students find it difficult to get jobs on the New Zealand job market due to their technical skills
- H2: International students find it difficult to get jobs on the New Zealand job market due to their communication skills
- H3: International students find it difficult to get jobs on the New Zealand job market due to their networking skills
The research aims to come up with a list of reasons as to why international students in New Zealand face difficulty when searching for employment in the host country.
Significance of the Study
The study is very relevant as currently, due to globalization, more people are moving from one place to another in search of education and work. International education is more common now than ever. However, despite acquiring the right academic qualifications, students still find it difficult to get work in their host countries. The study will highlight some of the reasons as to why this poses a challenge, thereby, providing suggestions on solutions for the same. The study also provides a great way of understanding different elements that affect an international student. Elements such as technical skills, communication, and networking will be analyzed to test their impact on the quality of education on international students. By understanding the said elements, the researcher will provide much-needed data that can be used to mold the best experience for international students. In turn, students will have a better chance of getting employment in their host country (in this case, New Zealand).
According to the New Zealand Immigration (2017), the country has a skills shortage that affects 150 sectors of the economy. Due to the shortage, the country has encouraged foreigners to take up jobs in the affected areas. Jackson (2016) argues that the shortage recorded has led to the massive growth of the international education market. One can argue, thus, that international students go to New Zealand to not only study, but also get employed. Information and communication technology as an industry has developed massively all over the world. In New Zealand, approximately 75,000 people work in an ICT-related job (Ng & Hamilton, 2015). Indeed, as Nicholas and Fletcher (2017) observe, ICT companies in the region are very flexible and entrepreneurial. The characteristics of the ICT industry make it one of the frequently hiring sectors of the New Zealand economy. Indeed, due to the diverse nature of ICT, people who work in the industry have to keep up with current studies on the same. Indeed, ICT is one of the sectors that are affected by a skills shortage in the country. Thus, institutions and colleges that offer ICT courses in the country attract a lot of international students.
ICT is a core sector in New Zealand, thus, attracts a large percentage of the international and foreign work taskforce in the country (New Zealand Immigration, 2017). The sector contributed approximately US$ 30 billion annually to the country’s GDP in 2014 (Blackmore et al., 2014). Despite the acknowledged skills gap and the continuous growth of the industry, international students studying ICT-related courses in the country rarely get employed in New Zealand (Williams & Otrel-Cass, 2017). Jena (2015) notes that only 30% of international students in ICT-related courses get work. The scholar categorically explains that 30% still faces various challenges in their attempt to get work. Some critics have argued that cultural constraints offer the biggest barrier to international students to get employed in foreign countries (Lovaglio, Cesarini, Mercorio, & Mezzanzanica, 2018). The same can be applied in the case of New Zealand.
On the same note, it can be argued that acquiring industry-centered qualifications does not help foreigners get their desired jobs in New Zealand. Fatt and Poon (1993) argue that experience and great interpersonal skills help individuals get their desired jobs easily. Thus, one can argue that international students are not taught proper interpersonal relations and do not acquire enough experience to work in New Zealand. Hinchliffe and Jolly (2011) also add that even though skills and relevant knowledge is important, on the New Zealand market, the ability to adapt to the culture and interact well with people are also deemed very crucial. Blackmore et al., (2014) explain that graduates go through four main stages of campus life. The four stages are engagement, performance, knowing one’s value, and intellect. The four stages are wholesome meaning, they will equip the student will all the core and soft skills he/she needs to succeed in the real world.
It is important to mention that many international students in New Zealand are from third world countries. The students are limited in regards to exposure and look to fill the gaps as they study. However, the students are rarely able to fully grasp the first world technology due to, other constraints such as cultural barriers and stress (Cox, Pollock, Rountree, & Murray, 2016). In an attempt to help such students gain skills and knowledge quickly, institutions that offer international education encourage the creation of skills groups. In ICT, such groups expose international students to the latest technologies, putting them on par with other students. Hinchliffe and Jolly (2011), however, caution on the exposure of such students to only technical components in their study.
Indeed, many of the international students have great grades and are good with the technical components of their courses. However, a majority cannot write or present themselves well, making it difficult to pass the interview stage of a job opportunity. Ramasamy (2015) argues that institutions should also include social skills in the skills groups. Indeed, it can be argued that the best way for such students to learn soft skills would be to pair them with people who have been identified to be great at soft skills. Through skills groups, international students would also be able to build networks with local graduates. In turn, they would get more and arguably better exposure to the New Zealand culture. Bunney and Therry (2013) explain that the institutions do not have to create the skills groups, but they have to provide a conducive environment for students to create the groups themselves. Blackmore et al. (2014) argue that various online applications can also help such students gain the exposure and soft skills they require. However, as Chira (2017) points out, institutions rarely provide information on such applications to students.
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Patel (2017) argues that many international students also do not understand the job application process in a foreign country. The job application process includes the format of the curriculum vitae, dressing, presentation of information in the interview stage, and also responding to some of the interview questions. Jackson (2016) argues that the stated problem can be resolved through work-integrated learning. International students have to be absorbed into a local company for internship purposes (Johnson, 2015). To ensure the process is beneficial to the student, schools should have prior arrangements with local companies that are interested in offering internship opportunities to international students. The internship opportunities would also help students expand their networks. Beech (2018) agrees with the idea of providing international students with internships as such opportunities would act as a link between the university and the industry.
Roberts (2016) argues that international students normally have the required technical skills required to get a job in their field of interest. However, many lack the right communication skills to pass the interview stage, or even to get referred to an organization (Zhao & Ping, 2015). Poor communication skills go hand in hand with poor networking skills. Van Hoye, van Hooft, and Lievens (2009) argue that many people in developed countries get work through referrals. Letters of recommendation are a very important element in the job application. Thus, international students who have a hard time making the right connections, also have a hard time getting referrals. Many also do not attach letters of recommendation from influential connections. In turn, their chances of getting employed are lower than those of the locals (Andersson, 2015).
Gaps in the Literature Review
A lot of literature can be found on the challenges that international students face. However, there is little information on why local companies do not hire international students directly from the university. Indeed, there is much less information on the same in regards to New Zealand. The gap in the literature goes to justify the need for this study. The findings that were realized in the study can be used to create better programs for international students while at the same time. Be used as literature on the subject. It is important to note that there are still some gaps in how student life on campus affects the student’s ability to get work in the host country.
One of the theories that can be applied to the subject at hand is the Student Development Theories. Dutta (2017) explains that the Student Development Theory explains how students gain knowledge in tertiary institutions. Several theories fall under the Student Development Theories. The most applicable in the study, however, is Sanford’s Theory of Challenge and Support. The theory suggests that the environment affects how the student develops and retains skills and knowledge taught (Lowry, 2017). It can be argued that international students need both a conducive environment for learning technical and soft skills. Additionally, the students need a strong support system to enable them to tackle the challenges they face in their quest to learn about their desired fields of interest.
The research took a quantitative approach. The sample size was selected from Avonmore College, which is a tertiary institution that has an open polytechnic that targets international students. The school was selected due to the significant number of international students it hosts. Data was then collected using a questionnaire. The researcher prepared the questionnaire with the help of two research assistants. Additionally, the questionnaire was tested before the study with a different sample size to ensure it captured all the information that the researcher was looking for to complete the study. The researcher employed two more research assistants to physically hand over the questionnaires to the sample group. The questionnaire had 12 questions that the participants had to fill.
The researcher used the right sampling technique to ensure the viability and reliability of the research study. It is important to mention that the researcher used a non-probability sampling method. According to Jackson and Michelson (2015), this type of sampling method does not include a statistical approach to calculate the sample size. The approach was appropriate for the study due to the limited sample size. The Open Polytechnic does not have many students and secondly, not all students would naturally agree to take part in the study.
Initially, the sample group was 50 students in the open polytechnic. However, the number reduced to 50 students due to several challenges such as unavailability of the students to participate in the study due to their tight schedules. The participants were above the age of 18. Indeed, more than 50 students were willing to participate in the study. However, the researcher decided to take the stated number of participants to allow for further research at a later date. The size also made it easier for the researcher to analyze the data efficiently and reliably.
Research Design and Methods
The research used a quantitative research design. In this case, the study seeks to find the underlying reasons why international students have a hard time finding work in their host countries despite having the right academic qualifications. Suggestions on how the target institution, Avonmore, can improve their services to help their international students have an easier time getting work will be offered.
The study is confidential. Participants were not asked to provide personal details in an attempt to lower bias and also due to ethical concerns. The participants were only classified by gender and year of study. Secondly, written consent was sought before the survey was done. The research assistants that helped the researcher were well trained on how to approach the sample group. It is important to point out that some participants preferred to answer the questionnaire on soft copy and send it via email. All participants were informed of their right to stop the survey if they felt uncomfortable. Additionally, all participants were informed on h0ow the data they had provided would be used. This was done after the participants filled in the questionnaire to avoid bias.
On the same note, the researcher and the research assistants explained to the participants that the hard copies would be carefully disposed of after the research project was completed. The researcher will use the university guidelines on disposing of the hard copies after the research is completed. The participants were also informed that all data collected will be saved electronically and their privacy will be protected. Since all the participants were above the age of 18, no third-party consents were needed. However, the researcher approached the school’s (Avonmore) administration and explained the project, while seeking permission to collect the said data. This was deemed necessary as data collection was done within the school premises.
|Internship Agreement||Mutual understanding of the internship||Agreement Signed||9 Sep 2017|
|Identify issues and opportunity||Significance of issues||Discuss the issues and opportunity||10 Sep to 12 Sep|
|Literature Review||Prepare draft review||Draft literature review||14 Sep to 16 Sep|
|Research Aim||Research Aim||Develop research aim||16 Sep 2017|
|Research question hypothesis||Research question hypothesis||Discuss Research question hypothesis||17 Sep 2017|
|Methodology||Methodology||Introduce and discuss methodology||18 Sep 2017|
|Research Design question||Research Design question||Prepare a question for participate||planning|
|Take approval from students||Take approval from students||Identify the ethics requirement and take signature||planning|
|Data collection||Research Design question||Sampling plan||planning|
|Storage into excel||Review data||Store them into excel||planning|
|Analysis||Analysis of Data||Do some statistical calculation||planning|
|Solution||To find out the solution for Avonmore||Spend some time with Avonmore and discuss some solution||planning|
|Writing up||It includes final drafts, binding, submission||final drafts, binding, submission||planning|
Data Collection and Analysis
As stated, data were collected using questionnaires. The questionnaire had 8 main questions that the participants had to answer. Participants were allowed to answer the questionnaire on their own or with the help of a research assistant. It is important to mention that the data was collected both through email (online survey) and paper, based on the participant’s preference. The data collection tool (the questionnaire) had several targeted questions. The three main areas of questioning were on whether the participants agree that technical skills, communication skills, and networking skills improve job opportunities in the New Zealand job market.
In regards to the technical skills, question 6 of the questionnaire sought to find out whether the participants believed that there was much demand for IT needed skills in the job market. The same question also asked the students whether they believed they had the needed skills to do some IT-related tasks such as system upgrades and database management. The question was relevant to the study as it allowed the researcher to gauge the level of expertise the students had at that moment. Additionally, the question also sought to find out if the students received a quality education, to begin with, to allow them to be suitable candidates for the IT jobs.
Question 7 in the questionnaire sought to find out whether the participants communicate with other students and with their lecturers and administration. The question sought to find out whether there are easy collaboration and flow of information among international students. Additionally, the question also sought to find out how easy (or difficult) it was for international students to get communication on possible job opportunities. The question was important as it offers the researcher data to determine whether communication and culture play a role in the research study. More so, the question was important to the study as it helped determine whether the school should be liable for communication on job opportunities. The researcher was able to find data to answer the question “should the school train international students on job hunting and the value of communication in getting a job?” Communication skills also play an important role in understanding whether the students get information on a timely basis. The information can be from their fellow students or the school administration.
The participants were asked whether they have a broad network at school and work. Also, they were asked whether they used the said networks to get better opportunities for themselves. The question was important as it determined whether the students went out of their way to look for jobs.
Apart from the three question areas, the participants were also asked whether they regularly search for job opportunities on the New Zealand market, whether they learn new cultures and languages, and whether they get alerts on job opportunities. All the said questions wanted to test the different elements that affected the participants’ ability to get a job in the New Zealand market.
The collected data were then analyzed using the Exploratory Data Analysis. Boeren (2018) defines Exploratory Data Analysis where the results will be summarized in a visual format through tables and charts. The analysis will be discussed in depth in the results section of this paper.
The researcher realized several things through the research study. It is important to note, first, that majority of the students that participated in the study were male. The main reason behind this was the fact that the majority of international students that took IT-related courses in Avonmore were male. However, the difference in gender did not affect the research study at any level. Indeed, students were asked to state their gender on the questionnaire. The initial plan was to also test whether the difficulties experienced by international students to secure jobs in their host countries was gender-based. Due to the unbalanced numbers, the premise was struck off from the study. The findings realized will be categorized according to the questions in the survey.
Question 1: Age
In regards to age, 64% of the participants were between the ages of 26 and 35 while 22% were between the ages of 18 and 25. 8% were aged between 36 and 41 while 6% described their age as “others”. Figure 1 in the appendix highlights the summary of the findings of question 1.
Table 1: Age Frequency Table.
|Frequency||Percent||Valid Percent||Cumulative Percent|
|Valid||18 to 25 years||22.0||22.0||22.0||22.0|
|26 to 35 years||64.0||64.0||64.0||86.0|
|36 to 41 years||8.0||8.0||8.0||94.0|
Question 2: Gender
76% of the participants were male. This translates to 38 participants. Thus, 12 participants, representing 24% of the sample size were female. Figure 2 gives a summary of the findings.
Table 2: Gender Frequency Table.
|Frequency||Percent||Valid Percent||Cumulative Percent|
Question 3: Ethnicity
43% of the participants identified as African and 31% were Sri Lankan. 20% of the participants were Indian while 6% were Chinese. Figure 3 shows a summary of the findings.
Table 3: Ethnicity Frequency Table.
|Frequency||Percent||Valid Percent||Cumulative Percent|
Question 4: Studying
All the participants (100%) were studying at the time of the survey.
Descriptive Statistics for Demographic Information
The table below highlights a quantitative summary of questions 1 to 4 discussed above. The mean rate indicates the mathematical and significance of the dominant propensity. The maximum regular value is presented for ethnicity while the minimum mean value is presented for the studying aspect. The variance is then applied to the quantity of variability from the normal value. Standard deviation is then used for the data set. The higher standard measure discloses that observations are more spread. Maximum deviations were observed in ethnicity with the value of 1.201 while minimum values were observed for studying (0.39).
Table 4: Descriptive Statistics for Demographic Information.
|Valid N (listwise)||100|
The question had five sections measured from 1 to 5, with 1 representing ‘strongly agree’ and 5 representing ‘strongly disagree’. 3 was neutral. The first section inquired whether the participants were always alert to IT jobs. 27 participants strongly agreed with the premise while 11 strongly disagreed. Figures 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 in the appendix summarize all the findings of question 5.
Question 6: Technical skills
The researcher had several questions asking whether the students had the right skills for IT jobs in the country. 78% of the participants agreed that there was much needed technical expertise for IT jobs in the country. Additionally, 85% agreed that they had the needed skills to perform IT tasks. Figures 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 in the appendix summarize all the findings realized in question 6.
Question 7: Communication skills
It was founded that a majority of the participants gave information to fellow students. 82% of the participants agreed that they provided information to their colleagues. However, a majority of the students disagreed that they gave each other feedback on performance. Additionally, 72% of the participants strongly disagreed with the premise that the exchange of information took place frequently and promptly. Figures 17, 18, 19, and 20 in the appendix summarize the findings.
Question 8: Networking skills
21% of the participants agreed that they spend a lot of time networking with others while 52% said they did not network. Only 12% of the participants were confident that they had a large network and 9% thought they were well connected. On the same breath, only 5% said they were good at using their network and connections to secure opportunities. Figures 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26 provide a summary of the findings.
The table below highlights the regression tests. The dependent variable JO refers to job opportunities. The independent variables are T (Technical), N (Network), and C (Communication). There is a weak affirmative relation of 46%. The Anova or F test was also used where P < 0.00 proves that the model is statistically significant. The results showed that there is an association between C & JO and N & JO. However, T has no relationship with JO because all participants had the same academic qualifications.
The regression formulae used were:
JO = 0.910+0.295(TS)-0.030(CS) +0.268(NS)
|Model||R||R Square||Adjusted R Square||Std. Error of the Estimate|
|a. Predictors: (Constant), N, C, T|
|b. Dependent Variable: JO|
|Model||Sum of Squares||df||Mean Square||F||Sig.|
|a. Predictors: (Constant), N, C, T|
|b. Dependent Variable: JO|
|Model||Unstandardized Coefficients||Standardized Coefficients||t||Sig.||Collinearity Statistics|
|a. Dependent Variable: JO|
The correlation test sought to measure the strength between two variables. In this case N + JO, C + JO and T + JO.
|**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).|
|*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).|
The test indicates that T + JO is most significant where p is more than 0.05. The same is applicable for N + JO. However, the results for C + JO is insignificant and cannot be analyzed statistically. In the same breath, N + C and N + T combined are statistically significant. Overall, the strength of the variables can be described as weak to moderate affirmative.
The following table summarizes the KMO and Bartlett test
|KMO and Bartlett’s Test|
|Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy.||.469|
|Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity||Approx. Chi-Square||798.999|
The Factor Analysis was done to validate the study. The test done measured the relevance of the sampling technique used in the study. The values of the test run from 0 to 1 and anything between 0.8 and 1.0 proves that the non-probability approach is not suitable for the test. 0.5 to 0.6 variables also show that the approach is not suitable. From the test given, the score of 0.47 proves the validity of the sampling approach.
Several things can be deduced from the findings presented. One element, as stated, is that fewer female international students are taking up IT-related courses in New Zealand. It is also important to note that a good percentage of the international students sampled were from developing countries. Figure 3 shows that 43% of the participants were from Africa while 31% were from Sri Lanka. An additional 20% were from India. The three regions are all categorized as third world or developing countries. 6% of the participants were from China, which is a developed region. The finding is important as it proves that the students have less exposure to fast world technology. Additionally, the finding suggests that international students would also require job opportunities in the New Zealand market due to fewer chances of getting employed in their home countries.
The realization that a majority of the sample was alert to IT jobs (Figure 4) means that the students go out of their way to look for work in the host country. Additionally, a high percentage of students are searching for work in potential markets. However, it is interesting that the majority of students do not systematically search for a job (Figure 6). De Battisti, Gilardi, Guglielmetti, and Siletti (2016) argue that systematically searching for a job requires a synchronized approach that allows the possible candidate to carefully pick out job opportunities based on their career interests, skills, and academic qualifications. The fact that only 16% of the participants agreed to some extent that they systematically searched for a job means that the rest applied for any type of job. The disadvantage of this is that the potential candidates did not specialize in anything. New Zealand, being in the developed countries category, demands specialization in almost all job categories.
In regards to H1, 78% of the participants agreed that there was much need for technical skills in the New Zealand market. Again, a majority of the participants (84%) stated that they understood software programs, and 80% said they could do system upgrades. Going back to the hypothesis, the results prove that the technical skills are deemed important as a measure of success. The fact that the students appear confident in their skills is crucial for understanding the underlying reasons why international students do not have an easy time getting employed in the New Zealand market. On the same note, a majority of the students also agreed that IT was important for the business. However, only a small fraction of the sample made efforts to interact with business managers (68%). The tests prove H1 wrong since many students do not think they have fewer technical skills that make it harder for them to get work in New Zealand.
It is important to note that communication between the students was very high. Thereby, answering H2, 92% of the sample population agreed that they provide information to fellow students. However, a majority agreed that the flow of information was neither frequent nor timely. The finding suggests that there is some type of communication barrier. According to Lim, Lent, and Penn (2016), communication is the best way for foreigners to learn the culture and the way of the people. Having a communication barrier, thus, affects the students’ ability to learn the culture (in this case work culture) of New Zealand. Thus, the results prove H2 correct in that many international students believe that poor communication affects their ability to get employment in New Zealand.
Thirdly, in regards to H3, a fraction of the sample population agreed that they connected well (33%). The finding means that many international students do not connect or interact with people who would help them get jobs in the future. The stated premise is supported by the fact that 86% of the sample population did not create any form of relationship with influential people. Jackson and Michelson (2015) explain that building strong connections with influential people is one of the best ways of getting work either as an employee or as a consultant. Since the majority of the students do not have the connections, they find it hard to secure a job in the New Zealand market. It is also important to note that 69% of the participants did not know how to use the connections they had made to get better opportunities. The results prove H3 true in that international students believe that poor networking skills had led to the
The results that have been presented go hand in hand with the literature review done. They support the argument that several things affect the ability of international students to get work in their host countries. Particularly, the results show that majority of the international students have the technical skills needed to get employment. This proves that the education system works well. However, the results also show that the students do not communicate well among themselves and also with the administration. The issue of communication purports that the students do not get relevant information on the importance of timely communication. Additionally, they do not have access to information on job opportunities promptly. On the same note, the results support the premise that many international students do not have proper networking skills. Without these skills, the students are not able to acquire work easily. Several recommendations can be made toward solving some of the issues that have been highlighted in the study.
Several recommendations can be made from the results and findings presented. The first recommendation is that international students taking IT-related courses in New Zealand should be taught soft skills to allow them to connect better with other students, the administration, and potential employers. Communication is a key soft skill that international students lack. It is crucial to point out that the work culture is very different in different countries. Thus, the students have to be socialized on the work culture of New Zealand. Additionally, communication structures in countries are also different (Economides, 2014). Thus, students have to be trained in basic communication skills to help them attain a job in the country. Another soft skill that would help international students get work easily in the New Zealand market is networking skills. St. Clair et al. (2017) explain that networking skills go hand in hand with communication skills. It is evident that even though some international students know how to network and get influential connections, a majority of them do not know how to use the networks made to get a job. Thus, it is recommended that schools also include soft skills in the curriculum of international students.
It is also recommended that institutions of learning get international students several internships during their study. Piróg (2016) argues that internships are one of the best ways of understanding the workplace. The same premise is supported by Human Relations Theory by Elton Mayo that focuses on relationships to make businesses grow (Oakes, 2015). Several things cut across all types of work stations. The students will be able to learn these in their attachments. Attachments and internships should be mandatory to ensure the students get the knowledge they need and also make the connections they need to secure a job. It is also important to note that institutions should identify influential companies and organizations that can take up and mentor the students well. Indeed, students should not be allowed to take up internships on their own, as they cannot be fully monitored. Additionally, it will prove difficult for an international student to secure an internship on his/her own.
Thirdly, it is also recommended that institutions provide additional information to students about job opportunities and also resources they can use to advance their skills. One can argue that the Administrative Theory by Henri Fayol gives the school responsibility to ensure that the students are well prepared for the workplace (Markell & Glicksman, 2016). Indeed, many international students come from third world countries. They are, thus, less exposure to advance technology (Voogt, Knezek, Cox, Knezek, & Ten-Brummelhuis, 2013).
To make their education easier, and put them at par with the rest of the students, the institutions should introduce them to concepts they have not been exposed to before. The institutions would also be socializing the students who will in turn feel more confident systematically applying for specific jobs. As mentioned, developed countries prefer highly specialized skills compared to general skills (Wang, Xu, Zhang, & Fang, 2017). It can be argued that international students do not feel comfortable with the jobs that require high specialization due to their lack of exposure to advanced technology. On the same note, institutions can give suggestions on material and resources that can help the students study and also socialize. For instance, the school can create social groups that include both local and international students. The groups would help socialize international students and also make it easier for them to make connections with locals.
International students face various challenges in their host countries. One of their biggest challenges is the inability to secure a job in their desired field. The research study aimed at determining factors that make it difficult for international students to get employed In New Zealand. Also, the research tried to highlight some of the challenges international students face when trying to settle and find work in New Zealand. The literature review purported that some of the reasons why international students failed to secure jobs in their host countries include poor communication and networking skills. According to previous literature, international students had the technical expertise needed to get a job as long as they attended classes. The study had three hypotheses related to the relationship between job opportunities and technical, communication, and networking skills. The researcher used a quantitative design to try and determine the hypothesis of the study. The study involved 50 international students from Avonmore Open Polytechnic. The participants were required to fill a questionnaire giving their opinion on 8 main questions related to the study.
The researcher used an Exploratory Data Analysis approach to examine the data collected. The results proved H2 and H3 true but proved H1 wrong. For instance, the results of the study showed that 78% of the participants had the technical expertise needed to understand software, and also to do upgrades. The results showed that a majority of the students had a problem developing influential networks and using them to secure jobs. Several recommendations were made to resolve some of the challenges that international students face. One recommendation was the introduction of mandatory attachment and internships for international students to ensure they learn the work culture of New Zealand. It is also recommended that institutions provide material and resources that might be helpful to the students in regards to job search.
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Figure 1: Age of participants
Figure 4: Alert to IT jobs
Figure 17: Provide other students with information
Figure 18: Flow of Information is frequent and timely.
Figure 20: Give each other feedback
Figure 21: Spend a lot of time networking
Figure 23: Developed large network