Globalization is changing the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers with top-notch cross-cultural skills and technical abilities.
PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that by 2050, E7 countries (China, India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey) will be more than 50% larger than G7 countries (US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan) if GDP is measured at market rates. A recent study by the British Council, titled Culture at Work, shows that employers are under great pressure to find employees with both technical knowledge and “soft skills” such as critical thinking, problem solving, time management and communication, considered necessary to succeed in a globalized economy.
At the same time, there is a mismatch between the skills of today’s graduates and what employers are looking for. The 2014 Global Risks Report identifies high structural unemployment as one of the main global risks for the next decade. The generation coming of age in the 2010s in advanced countries faces high debt and is unprepared for working life.
The benefits of studying abroad.
Studying abroad is one of the best ways for students to gain international skills and benefit from personal and professional opportunities.
Looking at the research on the more directly quantifiable aspects of the impact of studying abroad, studies show that students who study abroad have better grades, experience less attrition and obtain a better university degree than students who are not studying abroad.
An assessment by the Georgia University System found that students who studied abroad had a 17.8% higher four-year graduation rate than students who did not study abroad .
Indiana University reported that students who studied abroad had higher grades and graduated in four years at a higher rate than their peers.
Analysis by the SAGE research project of 6,000 former students over a 50-year period demonstrates that studying abroad has a substantial long-term impact on individuals’ career paths and global engagement.
Employers value study abroad experiences in the workplace.
According to AIM Overseas, “61% of employers agree that a study abroad experience is [positive] on a CV. In addition, 72% of employers recognize that knowing a second language adds to the attractiveness of a potential employee. The same study indicates that 95% of students consider the exchange experience useful for their future career plans.
Based on responses from 10,000 hiring managers and CEOs in 116 countries, the 2011 QS Global Employer Survey found that 60% of respondents said they “value an international study experience”
Former students abroad have better job prospects. According to a survey conducted by IES Abroad, 90% of former students abroad found their first job within six months of graduation.
The UK Higher Education International Unit’s Go International (2013-14) report showed that mobile students reported having higher average salaries than their non-mobile counterparts. Graduates from mainstream occupations who had been mobile earned, on average, more than 1500 Euros per year more than their non-mobile peers. And although they are less likely to be mobile, a stay abroad is correlated with a significant improvement in the professional results of black and Asian students compared to white students.
According to US News, a growing number of employers are looking for professional employees with both “hard” and “soft” skills. This includes the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and the willingness to learn from experience. Study abroad allows students to develop these skills.
GF Studies ‘ study abroad programs aim to shatter perceptions that study abroad is expensive and elitist. Study abroad is affordable and the Institute has many resources to help students and their parents plan accordingly. We must ensure that this generation and future generations of the American workforce are knowledgeable about other countries and cultures and proficient in languages other than English. It’s more important than ever for Americans to learn global skills so they can succeed in the global marketplace.