By DAVID MYTON
A majority of international graduates from Australian universities are highly satisfied with their education, believe their degrees are worth the financial investment, and would recommend Australia to other potential international students according to new research recently released by the Australian Universities International Directors’ Forum (AUIDF).
Conducted by the QS Intelligence Unit in 2015 and published by the International Education Association of Australia, the report says international graduates indicated a high level of satisfaction with their studies in Australia, with some 81 per cent of respondents agreeing with the statement “My Australian degree was worth the financial investment”.
Further, it says, international graduates found work at comparable rates to domestic students.
The report notes that when “assessing their employability and readiness for the workplace”, 84 per cent of graduates felt that their academic subjects supported skills development while 80 per cent agreed that their university “supported their skills development and workplace readiness”.
“Positive satisfaction levels” ranged from a high of 93 per cent for English language proficiency to 91 per cent for teamwork skills, 88 per cent for interpersonal skills and 79 per cent for technology skills.
Although the results strongly supported the strength of Australian universities in the development of critical employability skills, says the report, it adds that an additional focus “on the development of technology and enterprise skills” could further support graduates in their future careers.
Overall satisfaction rates were particularly high in some “key countries” for Australian international education, with Vietnam at 92 per cent, Indonesia 90 per cent, Malaysia 83 per cent and China 80 per cent.
In examining the “stages of transition to the workforce”, cohort analysis indicated a progression from fixed-term contracts to permanent contracts.
While graduates from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and India were more likely to obtain permanent contracts on graduation, graduates from Vietnam, USA, Canada and Pakistan were more likely to be on fixed-term contracts for a period of time.
“Understanding structural differences in national labour forces can assist students in setting realistic expectations of post-graduation work opportunities and support study-to-work transition services in advising students,” it says.
Half of the employed respondents worked in four sectors: Education and Training, Finance and Insurance Services, Heath Care and Social Assistance, Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, while six per cent were working in media and telecommunications.
The report notes that the majority of international graduates from Australian universities returned to their home country following graduation.
It also reveals that graduates were more likely to use Australian university career services if they stayed in Australia, with the most commonly used services being CV writing workshops (63 per cent), career fairs (54 per cent) and ‘drop in’ advice services (36 per cent).
“Overall, 70 per cent of graduates who used career services were satisfied with their university’s collaboration with employers,” it adds.
Read the report in full: International Employment Outcomes: Where are they now?
Meanwhile, Universities Australia has warned that Australia cannot afford to take its success for granted as it recruits international students in record numbers.
UA notes that when international students get a degree in Australia, they are also forging friendships and networks that will follow them into global careers.
“They learn how to do business here. Ideally, they return home with a great deal of affection for our country.”
However, it adds, other nations in the region have been investing heavily in their university systems as they seek to educate more of their students at home in the coming decade.
“Australia must continue to remind the world of the many benefits of studying here,” says UA.
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