Researchers at the University of Sheffield explore the impact of studying in the UK on employability for Chinese students, in this study funded by the Jisc careers research grant
- In nine areas employers and alumni agreed that study in the UK both enhanced people's skills and that it was valuable for employability. The skills/areas were initiative, communication and team working, English language, time management, problem-solving and analytical skills, adaptability, inclusivity, research skills/ information seeking and global perspective.
- Interviewees thought that certain skills, such as professional image management, social networking, Chinese language and digital skills were not well developed in UK study.
- Employers laid great stress on university rank, the degree qualification and the length of study period. The single year Masters in the UK was seen as too short to provide sufficient experience.
- Internships were highly valued, but the short stay in the UK and difficulty of finding suitable internships was noted.
- Alumni tended to want to work for state owned enterprises or foreign owned companies.
- Employers used a wider range of recruitment channels, but with alumni seeing personal recommendation as the most reliable, and also making some use of official web sites and agency apps.
- Alumni felt at a disadvantage in the early stages of finding a job because they were in the UK and employers still preferred face-to-face recruitment processes.
- University careers services were seen as offering lots of benefits but students failed to engage with them.
- Employers thought that students who had studied in the UK had inflated salary expectations. Alumni were keen to regain the cost of studies and because of limited awareness of the job market had unrealistic expectations.
- Alumni saw moving to Tier 1 cities as a key benefit of study abroad, yet there was oversupply of graduates in these cities, whereas lower Tier cities also offered opportunities and there was an undersupply of overseas graduates.
Download the full report
International Student Employability and Study in the UK: Perspectives from Chinese Employers and Alumni
About the report
The purpose of this report is to increase understanding of the impact of studying in the UK on employability for Chinese students, from the perspective of both students themselves and employers.
Chinese students are the largest group of international students in the UK. Most return to China after graduation. While improved employability is not the only reason for their stay in the UK it is a key one, so it is important to understand how studying in the UK impacts their ability to obtain a job and have success in their career.
This study is based on interviews with both alumni of UK universities and Chinese employers seeking to identify recommendations for UK HEIs, including careers services.
This research was funded by the Jisc's careers research grant - if you're a careers professional planning to undertake research, you may be eligible for funding of up to £5,000.
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