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Study abroad significantly increases your chance of getting hired

Dive In
  • Writer's pictureThe CareerBeacon Team

If you’re deciding where to go to school and have the option to do so outside of North America, you should probably take advantage of that opportunity. Studying abroad can significantly increase both your chances of getting hired for a job and your earning potential.

Those are the findings of the Employability and Study Abroad survey recently conducted by travel website Hostelworld, which found that 41% of employers would consider offering a higher salary to students who have studied abroad.

The survey set out to find out whether having studied in another country boosts candidates’ appeal and discovered that indeed it does. Hostelworld also found that nearly a third (29.6 %) of American hiring managers actively seek out candidates who have participated in Study Abroad programs., and that nearly a quarter (23.3%) said they are more likely to hire a recent graduate who has lived or traveled abroad over another equally qualified candidate. Moreover, 16% said they would “definitely” pay more for a candidate who had studied abroad.

Hostelworld lists cultural awareness, ability to easily adapt to new or unknown situations, increased people skills, and the understanding of global business as being among the benefits one can reap from the experience of studying another country.

The most desired locations among hiring managers for students to have studied in were Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Mexico City – in that order.

A media release reads, “As many Americans work with businesses in China, Europe, and Mexico, former study abroad students can utilize the cultural and business knowledge they acquired during their time abroad.” Canadian businesses may have different preferences. Though we live in a global village now, so really one should always be thinking outside the local box.

“Over the last decade, we have seen hiring become increasingly competitive. College students are under immense pressure to maintain good grades, have internship experience and participate in extracurriculars. Yet somehow, this still isn’t enough to set themselves apart from their peers once they graduate,” said Stuart Priday, Chief Human Resources Officer at Hostelworld. “Studying abroad offers a unique opportunity for students to continue their classroom educations while learning from other cultures and communities. This new, global perspective helps students develop both personally and professionally, and is proven to make them more employable down the road. So why shouldn’t students get out and meet the world?”

While one might not be too surprised that a study conducted by a travel company would find the benefits of travel, the results are backed up by previous research.

In an older study conducted in 2007, 73% of human resources executives cited study abroad as important when evaluating the resume of a job candidate for a junior-level position, and eight in ten said that a study abroad experience was an important factor for overseas job placement within their companies.

Other significant findings of that study include:

  1. Among prospective employees with study abroad experience, “cultural awareness/sensitivity/tolerance” and an “international perspective” topped the list of attributes valued by HR executives.

  2. 67% of HR execs said that a study abroad experience in a culturally diverse student environment distinguishes a job candidate from those who have only studied with students from their own country.

  3. 80% of HR executives believed that an international education experience is important in distinguishing a candidate for overseas job placement.

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