3 July 2019

What Kiwi employers value in New Zealand-educated international graduates

New ENZ employability research reveals what Kiwi employers most value in New Zealand-educated international graduates.

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A new research report published by ENZ looks into Kiwi employers from small to medium-sized (SME) businesses to show what they most value in New Zealand-educated international graduates.

The report, Employer Perceptions of Hiring International Graduates, was launched today at the Global Internship Conference, hosted by the University of Auckland.

The research looked into the hiring practices, pressures and opportunities for employers from SME businesses, which make up 97 percent of enterprise in New Zealand.

ENZ Chief Executive Grant McPherson said the research identified two key areas of New Zealand-educated international graduates’ value to Kiwi SMEs.

“One was the keen attitude of international graduates, which is defined as positively contributing to work outputs; and the graduates’ multicultural energy, which is seen as positively contributing to workplace morale,” McPherson said.

Characteristics associated with a keen attitude include perseverance, earned success, drive and willingness to take on tasks, while those associated with multi-cultural energy include an energising effect and the fostering of creativity and innovation.

“Research we have commissioned previously highlighted the importance that international students place on post-study work and career opportunities and outcomes, and how central this is to a successful overall student experience.

“This research showed that some students find New Zealand poses some challenges in this area,” McPherson said. 

The research involved in-depth interviews with SME employers from a range of industries across New Zealand from Whangarei to Dunedin, and a further half-day workshop. The focus was on international graduates who have a post-study work rights visa within current immigration settings.

“There are clearly opportunities to improve employment outcomes for New Zealand-educated international graduates,” he said.

“ENZ is planning to re-define the perceived value of New Zealand-educated international graduates in the eyes of New Zealand employers, based on the research findings.”

Employability is a theme that sits across all three of the goals in the New Zealand International Education Strategy 2018-2030, launched in August last year.

For a full version of the report – see here: Employer Perceptions of Hiring International Graduates.

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