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Career Success for US-Educated International Students?

Are US Institutions Producing Career Success for International Students?


Career opportunity is the primary motivating factor for international students. All our research into the international student journey says so. We’ve known this for a long time. If you can demonstrate that your degrees pave a beaten path to positive career outcomes, then you’ve got your prospect’s ear. Not many institutions can back up their promises with data...until now. 

Institutions seem to have had a hard time making the case for bottom line ROI. Sure, there’s the usual “x% employed within 6 months” data every institution flaunts, but what does that really tell a student who’s halfway around the world? Not a whole lot. We’re not saying to nix that stat – definitely keep it – but it’s hardly concrete proof for your prospective students. 

The fact is most institutions simply don’t have the student data on the whole job search process to offer much more. Especially for international students graduating from your specific institution. 

Nor do most institutions have the bandwidth to think it through for the international cohort. But data does exist that can help you uncover a truer and fuller picture of career potential for your international students. It’s a matter of knowing where to look, how to look, how to clean and crunch the data, and then interpret that data appropriately.  

Enter Intead’s analytics team and our colleagues at F1 Hire! On offer to you for download: our first Connecting Dots study, How International Students are Finding US Jobs: A Look at the Students, Degrees, and Institutions Producing Success

Our next opportunities to meet! 

GMAC Annual Conference, New Orleans, June 19 – 21, 2024. Ben will be presenting on how global elections are influencing student mobility. More than just the US presidential election has the power to upend what students will choose to do next.  

EducationUSA, Washington, D.C., July 30-August 1. Ben and Viginia Commonwealth University SIO Jill Blondin will share insights on Navigating Budget Challenges in International Recruitment: Practical Strategies for Every Phase.  

Be in touch! We’ll buy the coffee. 

Our newest dataset focuses on practical next steps for international graduates. The ROI insight they’re really after. And for institutions, our approach to analyzing US Department of Labor data can help your marketing recruitment team stand out at any student fair anywhere in the world. Wanna see how? Read on to download our report... 

To conduct the research, we partnered with our friends at F1 Hire, the ed tech company that built the go-to web extension of the same name for OPT/CPT/H-1B job seekers. Together we analyzed the US Permanent Labor Certification Program (PERM) and H-1B application data tracked by the US Department of Labor between 2018 and 2023. Then we reviewed this against IIE Open Doors stats as well as F1 Hire’s own proprietary user data.  

Our analysis yielded insights into the career pathway options for international students who are seeking US work experience after completing their education at US higher ed institutions. We also looked at those students earning degrees abroad with an eye on US employment opportunities. It’s an important group to consider, especially when working to recruit strong ROI-minded students. 

What we uncovered will help institutions like yours increase student enrollment by promoting programs that are definitively producing career opportunities for international students. On the flip side, it will also help international students make informed decisions as they evaluate their university options because they will be able to select programs best suited to their aspirations.  

It almost sounds too good to be true. But honestly, the data is right there for us. We just had to look and crunch (and crunch and crunch). Big shout out to Intead’s data analysts on this one.  

Download Our Connecting Dots Report 

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Let’s look at our topline takeaways… 

 For this Connecting Dots report, the first in a series, we set out to answer 4 questions important to enrollment teams right now: 

  1. Where are the US jobs for international students? 
  2. What kind of salary can an international student expect if they land a job in the US after graduating? 
  3. What can we understand about the Indian student experience specifically since this is such a significant student source country for US institutions? 
  4. How are international students and graduates searching for and finding US jobs? 

Wouldn’t we all like to know? Now we do.  

The report dives deeper into each of the inquiries with some really helpful tables and charts.

Here are 5 key findings that surfaced during our analysis: 

1. It’s (mostly) all about STEM.

International students have long preferred STEM degrees due to the 3-year OPT opportunity the US offers and the salary potential. That opportunity exists because US tech companies cannot find enough well-trained American workers. Learn more about the STEM OPT trend in this recent post here. 

2. It’s not just about US degrees anymore.

Non-US degrees add value for US job seekers, too. International students earning a degree outside of the US are finding high starting salaries in the US. Sometimes higher than those graduating with a US degree and seeking a US job. 

3. The US degree upside: Less experience required.

US employers appear to require fewer years of prior work experience from international students with a US degree as compared to those who have earned a degree outside the US. 

4. Location matters. And it’s more middle America than coastal.

New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Tennessee, and Montana have the highest ratio of H-1B jobs per international student attending universities there. North Carolina, Michigan, and Virginia also demonstrate a high proportion of international student-friendly employers. Unexpected opportunities here for institutions and international students? You bet. 

5. Universities with strong career service offices and corporate partner relationships will win.

The data clearly lays out where the career opportunities are for international students and how these students are approaching career search. It only makes sense then for institutions to leverage this insight by partnering with H-1B and PERM-friendly employers. So few institutions put resources into this kind of relationship building. Honestly, it’s a face-palm thing. 

Let's move forward

Our latest report will give insight you likely never considered before – and will be absolutely worth considering as you work to grow internationalization efforts on your campus.  

And, should you need a partner to help you put these insights to work for your institution, you know where to find us: info@intead.com. (Really, if you want a structure and process for stronger employer relationships that will improve student outcomes and catalyze future enrollment, be in touch.) 

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