Education agents expect more to study abroad, driven by employment prospects

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INTO survey shows recruitment agents worldwide are registering a strong interest in UK, US, Australian and Canadian universities, with quality of education and employment prospects proving to be key drivers.

(LONDON / NEW YORK): The majority of education counselors and agents across the globe expect to send more students to universities in the UK, the US, Australia and Canada in the 2022-23 academic year than in 2021-22, a global survey by INTO University Partnerships shows.

A total of 1,473 agents from over 80 countries participated in one the biggest surveys of its kind, carried out in May 2022. Represented countries include China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Vietnam and Brazil.

More than four out of five agents globally — 82% — expect to send more students to the UK in the upcoming academic year than they did last year, with half expecting to send significantly more. Meanwhile, 65% expect to send more students to the US, 63% to Australia and 59% to Canada. These results represent a significant improvement in agent expectations this time last year, when COVID-19-related travel restrictions continued to pose significant barriers to international education. Just 65% of agents expected to send more students to the UK last year, 44% to Canada, 34% to the US and 27% to Australia, according to a spring 2021 INTO survey.

Infographic with agent image and four pie graphs showing 82% of agents expect to send more students to the UK, followed by the US (65%), Australia (63%) and Canada (59%).

“The survey findings indicate the green shoots of recovery for the whole international education sector after more than two years of disruption. Our research clearly shows students are increasingly confident that now is the time to pursue an international degree, and more than ever they are looking for quality education to transform their lives,” said Olivia Streatfeild, Chief Executive Officer of INTO University Partnerships.

In addition, 76% of agents surveyed say the international students with whom they work are primarily motivated to study abroad by the better quality of education available in major destination countries, 74% say they are motivated by improved employment prospects and 63% say they are motivated by the chance to gain an international perspective. More than half of agent respondents — 52% — say their students are motivated to study abroad by post-study work opportunities.

Infographic with agent image and three pie graphs showing 76% of agents report international students study abroad for better quality of education, 74% for improved employment prospects and 63% for the chance to gain an international perspective.

Infographic with agent image and pie graph showing 52% of agents say international students are motivated to study abroad by post-study work opportunities.

“Employability has emerged as one of the most significant drivers for study abroad aspirants today. International students are increasingly willing to cross oceans and continents to further their career prospects. To ensure they get the return on investment they deserve, we must deliver programs that give them the career head start they need to succeed,” said Ms. Streatfeild.

“At INTO, our focus is not only to support students to achieve their academic ambitions, but also to help them go further and faster with their career goals. Our CareerFirst program gives students access to expert support, training and work experience, so they get every advantage in today’s competitive job market.”

Millions of students leave their home countries to study abroad each year. In 2019, 6.2 million students crossed borders for higher education. The global economic impact of international students is estimated to be in excess of US$350 billion.

Agents continue to be overwhelmingly positive about the UK as a study destination. Over two thirds — 70% — feel positive about the country’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, 91% feel positive about how welcoming and safe it is for international students and 95% feel positive about how open its borders are to international students.

Infographic with agent image and three pie graphs showing two thirds of agents feel positive about how the UK and Australia have handled the COVID-19 pandemic, while 56% feel the same about the US.

Positive sentiment toward the US and Australia significantly trails that toward the UK in some areas. Comparable levels of agents feel positive about how Australia has handled the COVID-19 pandemic — 67% — but only 56% feel positive about the approach in the US. The US also falls behind when it comes to how welcoming and safe it is for international students, with 72% of agents feeling positive. In the wake of border closures lasting most of the pandemic, Australia falls behind in terms of how open its borders are to international students, with only 64% of agents feeling positive. However, agents clearly anticipate a rebound in student demand for Australian universities.

Infographic with agent image and three infographics showing the greatest number of agents feel positive about how welcoming and safe the UK is for international students (91%), followed by Australia (82%) and the US (72%).

Infographic with agent image and three pie graphs showing most agents feel positive about how open the UK's borders are to international students (95%), followed by the US (75%) and Australia (64%).

Australia garners more positive sentiment than the UK and the US for its post-study work opportunities, with 88% of agents feeling positive. Meanwhile, 84% feel positive about post-study work opportunities in the UK, and 69% feel positive about those in the US.

Infographic with agent image and three pie graphs showing most agents feel positive about post-study work opportunities in Australia (88%), followed by the UK (84%) and the US (69%).

Highlights from the survey:

  • 82% of education agents expect to send more students to the UK in the coming year than they did the previous year, compared to 65% who expected an increase in 2021.
  • 65% of education agents expect to send more students to the US in the coming year than they did the previous year, compared to 34% who expected an increase in 2021.
  • 63% of education agents expect to send more students to Australia in the coming year than they did the previous year, compared to 27% who expected an increase in 2021.
  • 59% of education agents expect to send more students to Canada in the coming year than they did the previous year, compared to 44% who expected an increase in 2021.
  • 76% of education agents say students are motivated to study abroad by better quality of education, 74% say they are motivated by better employment prospects, 63% say they are motivated by the chance to gain an international perspective and 52% say they are motivated by post-study work opportunities.
  • 70% of education agents feel positive about how the UK has handled the pandemic, 91% feel positive about how welcoming and safe it is for international students and 95% feel positive about how open its borders are for international students.
  • 56% of education agents feel positive about how the US has handled the pandemic, 72% feel positive about how welcoming and safe it is for international students and 75% feel positive about how open its borders are for international students.
  • 67% of education agents feel positive about how Australia has handled the pandemic, 82% feel positive about how welcoming and safe it is for international students and 64% feel positive about how open its borders are for international students.
  • 88% of education agents feel positive about post-study work opportunities in Australia, 84% feel positive about those in the UK and 69% feel positive about those in the US.

Read the full report on the 2022 INTO Agent Survey.

 

For media inquiries, please contact:

Davinder Kumar (London, United Kingdom)
VP Corporate & Public Relations
INTO University Partnerships
Email: davinder.kumar@intoglobal.com
Mobile: +44 (0) 7393802367

JP Deering (Washington, DC, United States)
Corporate Communications Manager
INTO University Partnerships
Email: john.deering@intoglobal.com
Mobile: +1 859 351 9611

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