Why international students are a must for filling your skills gap

The pandemic exacerbated an already growing talent gap in a rapidly changing market. Technological advancements have led to the need for a range of key skills – both digital and people based - in order to adapt to the updated jobs market. For businesses, the skills gap is problematic as it creates limitations when recruiting and a lack of qualified personnel, alongside a higher rate of staff turnover and, ultimately, loss of revenue.

According to Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) in a recent paper, “the widespread skills shortages across the public and private sectors will only be filled with the help of international students already in the UK… so I was shocked to discover that so few employers have used the Graduate Route, which is a brilliant way to recruit highly skilled staff”. Business analysts, The PIE News reported that under half of UK employers were aware of the new graduation route while only 3% had actively used it.

The UK’s Graduate Route was introduced in July 2021 without any extra fees or admin for employers. Linda Cowen MD of Kaplan explained “The Graduate Route is unlike other employment-related visa schemes because it is free to employers, involves no bureaucracy and makes it possible to evaluate an international graduate for two years before making a longer commitment”.

Why international students?

According to Higher Education experts HESA, international students represent 1 in 4 students studying in the UK. Further to this, around half of international students are studying postgraduate qualifications compared to 27% of UK students meaning they bring with them not only several years of commercial experience but have studied their subject to a very high level. In addition, many international students also bring language skills, international contacts and multicultural awareness to your company.

How to fill the gap, for free

GradLink is a careers site set up by UWE Bristol for international students and graduates from all universities and HE institutions across the UK and we have just launched our new UK site!

GradLink is completely free to all – including employers. The service is a Times Higher award winner, and has been shortlisted for the award three times. In response to the Graduate Route, GradLink has introduced a new UK section where employers can recruit international students and graduates from over 100 universities completely free of charge. Employers can build their own profile on the site, advertise vacancies, search the site’s CV database and contact candidates directly. Employers can register here.

By Jen Garmston Published: Jan 19,2023

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