3 July 2019 at 9:00 am

ENZ begins journey to redefine the value of New Zealand-educated international graduates to SME employers

3 July 2019

A new report published by Education New Zealand (ENZ) finds that many employers who haven’t hired international graduates view them as a risk while employers who have regard them as an asset. 

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

The new research looked at the hiring practices, pressures and opportunities for employers from small to medium-sized (SME) businesses, which make up 97 percent of enterprises in New Zealand. It asked what employers find most valuable in New Zealand-educated international graduates.

“The research identified two key areas of value to SMEs: the keen attitude of these graduates, which is defined as positively contributing to work outputs; and the graduates’ multicultural energy, which is seen as positively contributing to workplace morale,” said Grant McPherson, Chief Executive Education New Zealand. 

Characteristics associated with a keen attitude include perseverance, earned success, drive and willingness to take on tasks. Characteristics 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,” said Mr McPherson.

The latest 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 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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