Career Preparedness and Expectations – findings from the International Student Barometer

Universities play an important role in equipping students with the tools and advice they need to advance into the working world. After all, many students will attend university with a specific career in mind. Most institutions will provide their students with significant careers advice, and help with job applications and finding available employers.

In the 2022 International Student Barometer, an encouraging 79% of students studying in the UK reported feeling either very prepared or prepared to meet their career goals. This was higher than the global result of 71%. Both figures mark a significant increase when compared to the 2021 results, (73% UK and 66% global), demonstrating a concerted effort from universities worldwide to enhance students’ confidence in this area.

As displayed in the below chart, when looking at the students’ expectations from their UK institution regarding specific careers and/or employment support, we see a consistent result when compared to the 2021 UK results.

Figure 1: Showing the comparison of 2022 and 2021 results for students’ expectations, (n) is the number of responses received.

Having been asked about their expectations with respect to careers support, the students are then asked about how satisfied they are with the various aspects of careers support mentioned above. We saw high levels of satisfaction in 2022 with advice (81% of students satisfied or very satisfied) and information (83%) provided by the institutions, as well as support (81%) and training (79%). Students’ satisfaction with the university securing employment for them was the only low result at 67%.

Comparing these results to those in the global data set for 2022 shows that the UK generally has a higher rate of overall careers satisfaction from students, particularly advice (81% vs 73%), support (81% vs 74%) and employment (67% vs 59%). However, when comparing the UK's 2022 results to those gathered in 2021, there is a slight decline in student satisfaction.

Student satisfaction with the career information provided by their university saw a 3% drop from 2021, as did finding relevant work placement opportunities (75% in 2021 and 72% in 2022) and being represented by their university (73% in 2021 and 70% in 2022). Whilst it’s certainly commendable for UK universities to be leading against the global comparison, as well as seeing consistency within these satisfaction results, it’s important to remember that in the context of scores received across other areas of the university experience, there appears to be scope for improvement in careers support scores.

The average satisfaction scores across the 4 key themes of arrival, learning, living and support was circa 90%, and with scores across careers averaging 76%, it suggests there is room to further elevate the careers results.

Ultimately, international students studying in the UK felt more prepared to meet their career goals than those in the global ISB comparison with 79% (prepared or very prepared) vs 71%. Whilst this is encouraging to see, we must consider those 20% of students that felt under prepared. How can universities adapt and evolve to strengthen this area and what measures can be put in place to better equip students with the skills and knowledge for their future careers?


For a detailed analysis of the latest International Student Barometer (ISB) data and how UK institutions compare, access our latest regional webinar: 

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*The international Student Barometer collected responses from 121,000 international students; 33,000 were international students studying in the UK.   

The ISB helps institutions make informed decisions to enhance the international student experience and drive successful recruitment and marketing strategies.

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