Visa Crunch

The UK Still Has A ‘Significant’ Employability Gap

According to international education advocates, more work is needed to close the “substantial” gap that still exists between overseas students and graduate employability in the UK.

According to Noleen Hammond Jones, international career manager at Lancaster University, university career services must be “completely accessible and representative,” and institutions must do more to ensure international students receive accurate information about available support before arriving in the UK.

“Evaluation, collaboration and really hearing the student voice” are crucial if students are to feel supported, according to Jones, with the journey being “massively overwhelming for students”.

“Many have been told that good grades equal good jobs, so even though employability is the top reason they choose their institution, many of them aren’t thinking about it at that stage,” she continued.

Claire Cairns, senior director of recruiting at Kaplan International Pathways, cautioned that universities should not view international students as a single group and that employment help should be personalised to each individual. Many people do not recognise the worth of their unique experiences since they are not “directly” related to their career aspirations, she claims.

Many students place undue pressure on themselves to acquire top jobs after graduation when, in reality, these early careers assist them to figure out where they want to go or what they desire. Being an international student is still perceived as a disadvantage, rather than a benefit, by many international students.

Claire explained that students usually face a catch-22 situation while looking for job experience and employment, with companies wanting to see experience but few willing to provide it. According to a recent UPP Foundation assessment, employment support is an area of “great possibility,” and providers should prioritise employability as the top priority for international students in the UK.

“It’s really important that we start to tailor the advice we give to international students by country, by what their labour markets are doing, by how their graduate recruiters recruit. The rest of the world doesn’t necessarily have the milk round,” she said at the time.

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