Improving International Student Employment Outcomes – Industry Roundtable Recap

Posted by Daniel Purchas

Last month, I attended Study Melbourne’s round table on international student employment. Like most other states around Australia, Victoria is facing skills shortages across several industries. International students and international education are a major export sector for Victoria, with the average of 250, 000 international students currently down to 140, 000. This is likely one of the big drivers of lower job hunter activity in the Australian market in 2022, which asks the question – how can we use employment of these students as a way to market and entice more students to return, with the other benefit being filling skill shortage roles? 

(Photos: Industry Roundtable on International Student Employment) 

State of the Market 

The challenge: One of the big challenges lies in international students having poorer employment outcomes post-graduation comparative to domestic students.  

(Source: Victorian Government – Jobs, Precincts and Regions) 

However, specific examples from KPMG and Infosys can show us how hiring international students can play a significant part in their talent strategies. With the current market conditions prevailing for another 12-18 months, they are going to invest more heavily into this talent pool. Here at GradConnection we too have hired 4 international students over the past 7 years, sponsoring them to get Permanent Residency.  

Read more on the benefits and expectations vs reality of bringing on board international students here. 

What are the Opportunities? 

A great benefit of hiring international students is retention - embarking on the sponsorship process usually means the student will stay for 4-5 years minimum while their Permanent Residency is granted.  

Sectors such as Teaching and Medicine/Healthcare are at parity in post-graduate employment outcomes between international and domestic students, while the biggest gaps lie in sectors which are facing major labour and skill shortages. This means there’s essentially an untapped pool of talent in these sectors: 

  • Technology 
  • Engineering 
  • A range of Commerce roles 

(Source: 2021 International Graduate Outcomes Survey QILT, Australia) 

Key Takeaways: What Can You Do to Get into the Market? 

The current hiring market conditions now make the perfect time to do the leg work to get international students into your graduate and intern programs as an ongoing source of talent for the future. Here are 2 next steps in order to start working with this group of students:

1. Consult with HR/Global mobility partners/immigration agents to work out the logistics of hiring 

  • There are costs involved and additional process but what is the cost to the organisation of not making your hires? 

2. Work Integrated Learning placements 

  • This is a great opportunity to trial out international students working within your organisation and the universities will help to facilitate the placements 
  • Similar to an internship program, it is often a great way to pipeline talent into the organisation 

See our complete guide to bringing on board international students onto your team in this blog here. 

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