Asian campus graduates out-earn study abroad students, survey finds

Published 18/10/2019

Graduates of university campuses in Asia earn more on average than graduates who have studied at universities overseas, a report from talent community Cturtle has revealed.

Surveying 16,830 responses, the International Student Employment Outcomes and Satisfaction report found that on average students who had graduated from campuses in Asia earned more than their counterparts who had studied in universities across popular study destinations, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, US or Europe.

“Employment networks in location of employment are critical for graduate and alumni success”

Studying at a campus in Asia could mean for example a Vietnamese student studying at RMIT Vietnam or at Curtin University (Singapore) or vice versa, explained Shane Dillon founder & CEO of Cturtle.

For graduates who finished their studies within the past three years, those who attended campuses in Asia were earning $2,865, while for alumni from campuses not in the region were earning $2,075 per month.

The wage gap became more pronounced for those who graduated between seven and 15 years ago.

According to the survey, for those who graduated from seven to less than 11 years ago, alumni of Asian campuses were earning $1,089 more than those who graduated abroad.

From 11 years to less than 15, the difference was $926 per month, although after 20 years the difference between the net monthly income lessened.

“This shows the importance of networks in employment,” Dillon told The PIE News, adding that 70% of jobs in students’ home countries are not advertised in the west.

“Employment networks in the location of employment are critical for graduate and alumni success and are only scalable through partnership. International students home networks atrophy while they are studying abroad.”

This boils down to a “misalignment between university strategy and the goals of international alumni”, according to the Cturtle report.

“Some universities strategy is siloed, alma mater centric solutions to “own” alumni while the goals of graduates, alumni and employers are diverse networks with greater access to global opportunities and talent,” Dillon told The PIE.

“International students give up years of local professional networking to study abroad and innovative universities need a strategy to support their alumni joining home country employment and professional networks so they are not left behind by local graduates.”

The report also found that international students in the UK are less satisfied with their international experience than in other countries of study, and Indian students are the least satisfied with the return on investment from an international education.

Graduates from Canada and Europe were the most satisfied with the return on investment, with 74% of students saying so.

Indian students were the least likely to say they were satisfied with their return on investment, with less than half (49%) suggesting they were happy – significantly less than the average of 68%.

It is an ongoing trend according to Dillon.

“Innovative universities need a strategy to support their alumni joining home country employment and professional networks”

“Our insight says the expectations set at the pre-departure information stage for Indian students in terms of post-study employment, post-study earnings, immigration and their actual experience is leading to high levels of dissatisfaction,” he said,

Additionally, the survey highlights that alumni generally provide the most accurate source of pre-departure information, while at the same time they are the least accessible for prospective students.

“As with any product; if the label does not match the user experience the consumer is unsatisfied, and this was one of the driving factors in building UniAdvisor with Paul Loftus so we could give future students access to trusted peer reviews on the student experience and graduate employment outcomes,” Dillon noted, adding that UniAdvisor launched earlier this year.

“There is opportunity through [universities] asking questions of graduate and alumni data so that universities can improve alumni employment knowledge, alumni engagement and leveraged this engagement for future student recruitment.”

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