- DIAC and BMI Media unveil findings of market research study: “Transnational Student Mobility and Future Employment Trends in 2017”
- 2,700 students from 50 countries surveyed to provide better understanding of transnational student needs and future employment preferences
Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) and BMI Media, the world’s leading student recruitment event’s organiser, unveiled the findings of an in-depth market research study titled, “Transnational Student Mobility and Future Employment Trends in 2017”. The event, an essential component of the inaugural UAE International Education Week, determined the factors that motivate potential students worldwide: where they would like to study; the reasons why; perceived obstacles and more.
Conducted as part of DIAC and BMI’s partnership, the objective of the study was to provide a better understanding of transnational student needs and future employment preferences across a wide selection of developing countries in the GCC, Asia and South America. Survey responses were collected and analyzed from 2,700 students aged 17 to 25 from 50 countries. Through the study, researchers found that the UAE is similar in popularity to established education destinations such as Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland and New Zealand and outranked leading global players such as Singapore, Switzerland, China and South Korea as a preferred study destination.
The study also found that the foremost reason for students choosing an international study destination was the quality of education. Students are driven to overseas study due to limited education options in their home country and the fact that employers place greater value on international qualifications.
Another major reason cited for international education travel was employment. Students perceive higher education as an investment in their future and view international study as a platform to gain international experience. In fact, a staggering 69% of respondents stated that they intend to stay in the country of study, at least for the medium term; presenting an opportunity for leading education hubs seeking to attract educated skilled workers and retain intellectual capital.
Speaking at the launch, Mohammad Abdullah, Managing Director of Dubai International Academic City said: “Our study was designed out of necessity, due to the growth of the transnational student market worldwide, to encourage a deeper understanding of the shifting educational landscape and how to best harness the opportunities this brings for educational institutions and students alike. Together with our partner BMI Media, we wanted to unearth the key drivers for international student mobility to understand what a student looks for when traveling abroad for higher education, and what factors will make them leave their home country to do this.”
“Our aim today is to provide insights and advice to all international universities based on the facts learned from the study, from what courses students are looking for, what industries students are looking to work in to the facilities that will attract them and what are their major concerns when choosing a location for study abroad”, he added.
The importance of future employment was also apparent, with respondents selecting degrees that are competitive with global market trends and will guarantee greater employment prospects post-graduation. Business, Management, and STEM programmes were the most popular options with Language courses seen as an important skill to learn to enhance employment prospects in the country of study. This indicates the value in universities providing foundation language courses to transnational students as part of their university programmes.
Notably, when respondents were asked about extra-curricular activities, work experience was listed as the most important activity for students. In fact, one of the main deterrents for studying abroad is employment issues with many students choosing destinations – UAE, Australia, Canada, and Ireland – that allow them to work while studying. Extra-curricular clubs and career fairs were also ranked very highly, representing students looking for activities that increase their chances of gaining employment or networking opportunities for same.
Samir Zaveri, President & CEO of BMI Media said: “BMI Media established its regional headquarters in DIAC due to our common goal of attracting international students to Dubai. Through our partnership, it became clear that as leading educational event providers, we needed to develop a study which would answer all the questions a university would need to know about attracting transnational students. This shared objective formed the cornerstone of our study, having realized that it must be meaningful and informative to international universities as well as transnational students around the world. We hope the insights provided help educational leaders develop comprehensive strategies to attract, develop and retain the best university graduates.”
In addition, other key findings from the study include:
- Quality of Life and Safety are very important to transnational students. International study destinations like the UAE are widely regarded in these areas, being ranked as the 2nd safest country in the world in the World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017, as well as Abu Dhabi being ranked as the safest city in the world, and Dubai being ranked as the 12th safest city in the world in the Numbeo Crime Index 2017.
- A growing base of students (11%) are looking to become Entrepreneurs and this should be encouraged by universities by offering additional development programmes for students.
- Student accommodation is a high consideration for students when looking at facilities an institution offers. Educational facilities also outweigh the extra-curricular facilities revolving around sports and recreation. The types of facilities students prefer tend to reflect their importance in securing employment post-graduation, while “non-essential” facilities based on sports or community do not rank as highly.
The launch of the market research study is a key highlight of the inaugural UAE International Education Week. Held from 18th to 23rd October, the week includes a series of workshops, fairs and private meetings such as the Gulf International Schools Workshop, UAE Global Educations Fairs and the BMI Gulf Scholarship Summit.
Designed to support Dubai’s growing reputation as a global education hub, UAE International Education Week aims to attract regional and transnational students to Dubai by providing essential information on how to select the best institution, course and country for higher education.
The second volume of the study, which will focus on universities and their operations, will be launched in early 2018. The Transnational Student Mobility and Future Employment Trends in 2017 study is available for download on the DIAC website: www.diacedu.ae