Gone international: the value of mobility

This article was written by Global Graduates, published on 17th February 2016 and has been read 1413 times.

The UK Higher Education International Unit’s Go International programme published a report today that outlines which students go abroad, where they go and considers what currently available data can tell us about the outcomes of international experience as part of a UK undergraduate programme. Gone International: the value of mobility provides the second annual national outline of the academic attainment and employment outcomes of mobile and non-mobile undergraduate students. This year the data was disaggregated to also explore the impact of mobility on black and ethnic minority students and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The new report shows greater employment outcomes for mobile black and Asian students.

In comparing mobile and non-mobile students’ outcomes, data from the 2013/14 graduating cohort of UK undergraduates shows that, six months after graduating:

  • Less likely to be unemployed (5% compared to 7%) 
  • Mobile students from disadvantaged backgrounds less likely to be unemployed (5.0% compared to 6.2%) 
  • Black and Asian students particularly benefit from mobility (5.4% compared to 9.9% and 4.4% to 9.5% unemployed respectively) although the number of mobile students is lower 
  • Mobile students from all backgrounds reported higher average salaries than their non-mobile equivalents. (£21,349 compared to £20,519 for a non-mobile student) 
  • Mobile students are more likely to achieve a First Class (1st) or Upper Second Class (2.i) in their degree (81% compared to 72%) 
  • More likely to be in further study, or in work and further study 
  • 38% of mobile students studied languages 
  • More mobile students were female than male but if you exclude language students the participation rate is the same – 3.6% 
  • Mobile students are more likely to work in education and professional, scientific and technical activities than their non-mobile peers.  

This report echoes last year’s findings and shows strong academic attainment and improved employment outcomes for mobile students. The research will provide institutions with data to support them in discussions about increasing participation of underrepresented groups in outward mobility opportunities.

Vivienne Stern, Director of the UK HE International Unit said: “We want to encourage all students to benefit from a period abroad. This report demonstrates the value of mobility, particularly for students from ethnic minorities and disadvantaged backgrounds. The additional analysis was undertaken in response to feedback from the higher education sector and as part of the Go International Programme and we have developed an action plan to support the uptake of mobility from widening participation groups across institutions.”

The report analysed the data from the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey (DLHE) and the HESA Student Record for 2013/2014. Analysis was restricted to 245,620 UK-domiciled, undergraduate first degree graduates who completed their studies in in 2013/14. 13,355 of these were identified as being mobile at some point during their course.

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