International students

International students have many reasons for coming to study in the UK but their main reason for studying here is to increase their global job prospects (NUS, 2012). In this respect they are no different from home students who also rank improving their job prospects as the most important reason for coming to university. Also, like home students, they will have diverse career aspirations, but unlike home students, they are likely to experience additional barriers to their employability development (HEA, 2014) including: 

  • immigration restrictions – see UK Council for International Student Affairs 
  • cultural barriers
  • differences in emphasis on the employability skills valued/needed
  • different expectations of what the HEI will provide (e.g. providing work experience and a job post-graduation)
  • different employment markets in their home country.

The IEAA (2015), in their guide for providers, summarise key advice that helps to address these barriers as follows:

  • international graduate employability must be seen as core business
  • international students must be provided with a range opportunities to develop their employability throughout the student lifecycle
  • work experience provision will require commitment, strong relations with industry and creative solutions
  • strong industry-institution relationships are critical to improve employment outcomes of international students
  • strong and enduring relationships should be fostered with alumni who can provide valuable internship opportunities, mentorship and graduate employment to international students
  • the pre-entry and post-arrival expectations of international students need to be carefully managed to avoid dissatisfaction and poor retention.

CES will support International students seeking placements, work experience and employment

International students talking about employability

I think it's about making students aware... and it's also about finding ways to target those students who may not be as confident, during tutoring or during lectures, just to make them more aware and really encourage them to get involved.

Nadine Mashingaidze, Business Management and MSc Human Resources.


Huang, R., Turner, R.& Chen,Q. (2014) Chinese international students’ perspective and strategies in preparing for their future employability, Journal of Vocational Education and Training. 66(2) 175-193 

Regulations for international students seeking work in the UK, EU and EEA frequently change. The University’s International Student Advice service (ISA) maintains reliable, current information. 

AGCAS developed resources for international students that are hosted on the TARGETjobs website, Getting work experience, Job hunting in the UK, Seeking work outside the UK, Visas and work permits for working in the UK 

NUS Global Future Bulletin. Monthly Bulletin May 2012. International Student Perceptions of Employability

HEA (2014). Employability and Next Steps, part of the Teaching International Students Project 

International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) International Student Employability

Graduate Employability. Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching in association with Bond University, Curtin University and RMIT University Reflections on international students and graduate employability

University of Birmingham – Careers for International Students 

Target jobs – International Students.