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What do international students need to know about the first report on international graduate outcomes in the UK?

This year, Universities UK, the representative organisation for the UK’s universities have produced an international graduate outcome report for the first time. This report follows the UK government’s International Education Strategy which was released in March 2019. This latest study is the first large scale report to investigate the graduate outcomes of international students who have studied in the UK.

GradLink founder David Gee was invited to the launch of this report which took place at the house of commons and hosted by Jo Johnson MP, former Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation at the Department for Education. Mr Johnson explained that the report will be used to support the Government’s aim to increase the numbers of international higher education students studying in the UK by over 30%, as outlined in its International Education Strategy published in March. The report has been released to show a “snapshot of the employability benefits of a UK degree” and demonstrate what value students have found from their degrees. The questions in the survey were designed to delve into the international student experience and graduate outcomes.

Who completed the survey?

They received surveys from 16,199 international graduates from 58 institutions from across the UK with the hope that more universities would participate in future. The data was gathered from all across the UK from EU and non-EU graduates who had completed their studies between 2011 and 2016.

What did they find?

  • 69% of respondents say they progressed more quickly in their career than peers educated elsewhere
  • 82% of graduates say their degree was worth the investment
  • 83% of respondents say their degree helped them get their job
  • Over half (53%) of all respondents working in their home countries believe they earn above or well above average compared to peers educated elsewhere
  • 77% of respondents say they are more likely to do business with the UK as a result of studying in the UK
  • 88% of respondents plan to visit the UK for holiday or leisure
  • 90% of respondents are satisfied with all aspects of their life


What does this mean for international students?

The overall data from this report showed the value international students have found in their UK degrees. One of the key findings was how vital university support has been to international students. The report notes that “a closer look at the data reveals that university support often leads to career opportunities for international graduates, particularly by helping students to develop personal networks”. So networking while at university has been cited as not only helping to create a wider support network while studying but adding contacts that can also help with employability.

There are other contributing factors which the data would not be able to gather such as the socio-economic background or language level of the graduates who took part which may impact their graduate outcomes. One case study explained it was the experiences they shared with others from all walks of life that helped create more open-minded and accepting graduates. It’s clear how graduates appreciated their UK qualification as they felt this gave them the ability to move globally providing them with a global perspective that helped them in the workplace.

The report concludes that “the survey results show that international graduates from UK universities go on to successful and satisfying careers and that the majority of them recognise that their UK degree is a vehicle for their success. The results also show just how valuable our international graduates are as ambassadors for the UK.” This report positively demonstrates the career progression, skills and general wellbeing of the graduates who took part and leaves a confident message of success to those students following in their footsteps. Here at GradLink, the focus is on the employability of international graduates, providing career advice and the latest news. Register today for more international updates, blogs and our global jobs board!


By Jen Garmston Published: August 02, 2019


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