How will having a university qualification from Australia or New Zealand affect your graduate job prospects? Study Options investigates
While there are no certainties in the graduate job market, one fact is clear – the world is getting smaller, and recruitment is increasingly global. Companies, public sector departments and NGOs all now employ graduates from universities all over the world. When a recent survey for The New York Times asked top executives from leading companies in ten countries to name the top universities from which they recruited, they named institutions from more than 20 different countries.
So how would a UK-based company view a job application from a UK citizen who had studied in Australia or New Zealand? “We would absolutely welcome it,” says a spokeperson for RBS. “It shows that they have had the chance to develop a different set of invaluable skills you cannot get from studying here in the UK. Studying in Australia or New Zealand also means that the candidate will have a global outlook, which is definitely something that global firms value, and which could give them an edge over other candidates.” David Hansel, partner at London law firm Hansel Henson, agrees. “I’d view the candidate in the same way that I would someone from a British university, but I would like the sense of adventure the person had shown – it would make them stand out from the crowd.”
Hansel’s comment highlights one undeniable advantage of an international university education – it gives you a real point of difference, and makes your CV stand out. Many employers tell us that they would infer from someone having studied overseas that that person was perhaps more independent and self-reliant than most. The spokesperson from RBS is one: “I would certainly infer those things from someone having an Australian or New Zealand degree. As well as demonstrating that they are self-reliant and independent it would also demonstrate to me that they are able to adjust to other cultures and are outgoing and confident. It also shows that they have made a conscious decision to embrace change which is something that I think any global firm would welcome.” Bill Muirhead, partner at advertising agency M&C Saatchi, also holds this view. “Exposure to the different lifestyles on offer in those countries is an experience in itself and develops the creative thinking that is so key in our line of work. The experience can also help develop characteristics such as resilience and flexibility.”
So a good degree, and a well-rounded set of personal skills – what else are employers looking for? More often than not, they want experience. Which, for a new graduate, can be hard to come by in Europe at the moment. Australia and New Zealand, however, currently have relatively bouyant graduate job markets. Both countries run visa initiatives which allow people who have studied there to stay on and work for a time after completing their degree – potentially offering you the opportunity to land that all-important first job, and then come home with a great academic qualification and some professional experience to go with it.