Study abroad graduates have twice the chance of getting employed. About 97% of them gain employment in their first year of graduation. Their initial salary figure is 25% more than study home graduates. Employers prefer study abroad graduates because of their perceived high interactivity developed from their interaction abroad.
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It prepares them adequately for global assignments where organisations operate in multicultural societies. Domestic employers, however, may consider them to be less valuable than locally trained graduates. The spell of interruption in their studies may convince local employers that they have little mastery of the local market situation.
Studying abroad has become an ever growing phenomenon as people seek to obtain mixed skills and experiences to enhance their performance.
According to a general survey result, many students who studied abroad at some point during their graduate studies are more likely to find employment within their first year of employment compared to those who studied at home. This paper seeks to discuss the impact of studying abroad in graduate level on employability.
Current Graduate Labour Market
According to the University of Wolverhampton, 59.2% of graduates who had attained their first degree in 2009 were engaged in employment only. Another 15.3% of the graduates went for further studies only; that is, without engaging in employment at the same time, while 8.0% were both studying and employed (University of Wolverhampton, 2008, para 1).
Unemployed graduates comprised of 8.9% of the total number, while a paltry 3.8% of the graduates were neither studying nor employed. The remaining 4.6% of the graduates were not grouped under any activity (University of Wolverhampton, 2008, para 1).
Increased competition in the global arena, as well as advanced technology is demanding higher skills for the workforce. Owing to these changes and growing demands, occupations that previously did not require graduate employees now require degree holders. Higher education has expanded a great deal.
This has attracted more people to go for degrees to increase their chances of gaining employment (University of Wolverhampton, 2008, para 5).
Analysis of employability of graduates who studied abroad Vs those who did not
The University of California, Merced, reports that there are limited statistics indicating the true comparison between graduates who studied in the home country against those who studied abroad. However, it cites a notable research indicating that up to 97% of students who studied abroad at one time found employment in the first 12 months of their graduation (University of California, 2013, para 1).
In comparison, only 49% of graduates who studied in the domestic colleges were able to secure employment. It implies that graduates who study abroad have twice the possibility of gaining employment as opposed to their local college graduate counterparts. Of the 97% study abroad alumni, about 90% of them got employed in the first six months of their graduation (University of California, 2013, para 1).
Study abroad graduates, in comparison to their study home counterparts, enjoy a better starting salary by about 25% more. It has been established that graduates who school abroad earn a higher salary of at most 25% higher than their home counterparts.
This additional salary figure is equivalent to about $7,000 more each year. Throughout their employment period, the study abroad alumni earn an average of about $567,500 more compared to their graduate counterparts who study locally (University of California, 2013, para 1).
Other areas of comparison
Study abroad graduates are more likely to land either their first or second choice graduate school compared to those who study at home. According to the statistics, 90% of the graduates who study abroad have higher chances of landing either their first or second choice graduate school (University of California, 2013, para 2).
It implies, therefore, that they have a higher likelihood of attaining the right skills and education that they intend to achieve. This eventually improves their chances of getting employed after their studies because of their highly competitive skills.
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A majority of employers also confirm the fact that graduates who study abroad are more likely to be of benefit to the organisation than employing graduate students with only local education. Up to 59% of the employers concede that study abroad graduates have a higher likelihood of having a better career, thus benefiting their organisations more (University of California, 2013, para 3).
The opportunity to study abroad, according to employers, empowers a graduate to gain more valuable skills and techniques. Such individuals can fit into any society and perform their roles well. It enhances an individual’s interaction ability and the ability to study and understand a foreign business environment faster than their competitors in the job market (University of California, 2013, para 7).
Valuable Skills and Knowledge Acquired from Studying Abroad
Personal relationships play a critical role in enhancing business performance, especially where international trade is involved. An individual in the business must be able to understand his or her own culture, as well as understand others’ cultures to achieve cultural competence.
As Earley and Peterson (2004, p. 100) suggest, cultural intelligence is a crucial component of business that describes the behavioural, meta-cognitive, and motivational factors.
Graduate students who study abroad get the opportunity to develop multi-faceted interpersonal skills. The opportunity helps the individuals to develop their self-awareness and understand the perceptions of others (Hogan & Warrenfeltz, 2003, p. 74).
These are important job market skills, particularly owing to the changing market trends and business operations. More companies are seeking to expand their markets and involve multi-cultural societies or communities that require cultural competence (Earley & Peterson, 2004, p. 101).
Global Industry Competence
Graduates who get the opportunity to study abroad build their global industry competence and understanding. This skill mainly involves an understanding of the association between global industries, on the one hand, and the economies within which they are located, on the other hand.
Such individuals are poised to easily understand the interconnectivity of the international markets, what the global customer preferences and needs are, and how to conduct effective marketing processes (Knight & Kim, 2009).
Graduates who study abroad gain the ultimate skills and knowledge of leadership that is able to steer entrepreneurship to admirable heights. Such individuals, by virtue of their experience studying in a foreign country, have developed a great understanding of the international commerce and its impact on business.
Such students are more likely to work for small-sized firms and gain a lot of experience in terms of entrepreneurship competence in general while undertaking their studies abroad (Knight & Kim, 2009, p. 225).
Job Positions likely to be secured by Study Abroad Graduates
Graduates who studied abroad are more likely to be employed as marketing managers (University of Wolverhampton, 2008, para 6). Marketing requires a lot of skills in understanding culture and having the ability to interpret others’ needs and requirements accurately.
The opportunity to study in a foreign country, therefore, makes it a good experience to equip one with the understanding and knowledge about other people and how to relate with them.
IT specialists are also more likely to be individuals who acquired their education from abroad. With technology advancements taking place at a fast pace, individuals may seek to travel to other countries to get a better experience on technology. This may be the case in a scenario where one country is more advanced in terms of technology than a student’s home country (University of Wolverhampton, 2008, para 6).
Studying abroad: Extent to which it increases graduates’ likelihood of working in a foreign country
Graduates who studied abroad at some point during their studies have a higher likelihood of working abroad than those who studied in their home countries throughout. Study abroad graduates have experienced a different culture and tradition, different from their home cultures (Earley & Peterson, 2004, p. 100).
Thus, employers in foreign countries or those owning multinational firms may be more willing to work with such individuals because of their developed interpersonal skills. Such study abroad graduates may not need extensive training and orientation sessions when they go to work in a foreign country because they are already experienced.
The foreign employers look up to them as the best alternative during employment drives because they will spend less resources and time on the graduates to try and have them understand and accurately interpret their new environments (Earley & Peterson, 2004, p. 100).
Employment Disadvantages for Study Abroad Graduates
Domestic employers may consider individuals who studied abroad in low esteem compared to those who studied at home. The study home graduates may be considered to understand the local market more than the study abroad graduates because of their continued stay at home (Feldman & Ng, 2007, p. 350).
The experience with the local situation and market that the study home graduates enjoy might prove convincing to the employers that they are better placed to handle the demanding market situation.
Although the study abroad graduates may have acquired superior skills, particularly skills on interrelationships, local employers may not consider it to be of much relevance.
The fact that the local population may be of homogeneous cultural background may make local employers to consider such foreign-trained individuals to be of less value to their organisations or institutions (Feldman & Ng, 2007, p. 350).
Study abroad graduates have a better chance of securing employment opportunities compared to college graduates who may have studied in their home country throughout their education. Labour market trends indicate that up to 97% of study abroad graduates secure employment within the first year of their graduation.
Study abroad graduates use their interaction abroad to hone their interrelations skills to admirable standards. They have a better chance of working for foreign firms because of their intercultural experience gained during their studies abroad.
Individuals should consider studying abroad to increase their chances of employment. It also provides them with a better opportunity to earn higher salaries. Marketing and management skills should be the best choice of graduates seeking to study abroad.
Most employers prefer managers and marketers with foreign training skills. Study abroad graduates should also ensure they keep abreast with the domestic market situation and development to enhance their chances of getting employed at home.
List of References
Earley, PC & Peterson, RS 2004, ‘The elusive cultural chameleon: cultural intelligence as a new approach to intercultural training for the global manager’, Academy of Management Learning and Education, vol. 3 no. 1, pp. 100-115.
Feldman, DC & Ng, TW 2007, ‘Careers: Mobility, embeddedness, and success’, Journal of Management, vol. 33, no. 3. pp. 350-377.
Hogan, R & Warrenfeltz, R 2003, ‘Educating the modern manager’, Academy of Management Learning and Education, vol. 2, no. 1. pp. 74-84.
Knight, GA & Kim, D 2009, ‘International business competence and the contemporary firm’, Journal of International Business Studies, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 225-73.
University of California, 2013, Study abroad and careers, salaries, and job skills. Web.
University of Wolverhampton 2008, Graduate labour market. Web.