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Recruiting Intelligence

Work Experience as a Recruiting Tool: Erasmus+


“I can’t get a job without experience. I can’t get experience without a job.” If you know students who have graduated recently, you’ve probably heard them say this. It’s a cycle that every recent grad is terrified of falling into. Programs like European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students called, Erasmus+ recognized this issue and the program is making it possible for students to gain experience while studying. It's all about making students' futures look a little brighter. And, guess what? It’s working.

Erasmus+, created by the European Union, supports education, training, youth and sport in Europe. The program financially supports opportunities for European students to study, train, gain experience, and volunteer abroad.

Bottom Line: According to an ICEF Monitor article published in February 2016, Erasmus+ had more than doubled their number of students in 2014. Yes, you read right. Doubled! It is now sending 500,000 students abroad through their programs each year.

Students are jumping at the chance to go because, here is the kicker, mobility increases employability. And that is good news for your international student recruiting efforts. Students are already seeing the benefits of heading abroad. Now, your job is to show them how you can support their needs.

Our NAFSA presentation on the morning of Wednesday, June 1st is going to address why students seek international study options and how they weigh economic and political factors at home and abroad. We are analyzing 40,000+ completed international student surveys as we write this blog! The results will amaze you and guide your marketing plans. We can't wait to share this stuff with you! We hope you will be in touch to schedule a meeting in Denver.

Read on to learn more about how the lessons of Erasumus+ can inform your global marketing...

In past blog posts we’ve talked a bit before about how your marketing should show students the “finished product.” Students need to see what is on the other side of their college experience. Diplomas can seem like nothing more than paper, so having concrete evidence of what career prospects will look like as students step foot off of your campus is really compelling. Programs that are able to give clear statistics that show how employable their students are after their graduation have an undeniable edge. Erasmus+ is boasting their employability data and students are taking notice.

Are students really concerned with employability? Of course! Young people are struggling to find jobs. And they are doing their best to avoid the pitfalls of an uncertain job market. That means students are seeking employment programs and majors that can guarantee a need for new grads. Sound like what your institution offers?

The ICEF Monitor points out that EU students are truly weighing the benefits for their future when they decide to study via Erasmus+. The vast majority (90%) of students are aiming to develop skills and almost as many students aim to be more employable (80%).

Erasmus+ is able to make students more employable through their work programs. In fact, The Erasmus Impact Study Regional Analysis points out that one in three Erasmus+ students is offered a job by the company where they are placed. This number increases in Southern Europe where 51% of Italian students are offered positions at their placement and 47% of Portuguese students find work at their host company.

The Impact Study compared the skills and personality traits of students in the Erasmus+ program both before and after they went abroad. It also looked at the skills and traits of students who did not go abroad. The ICEF Monitor sums up two of the study's findings:

  • Erasmus+ students show higher values for personality traits that are highly valued by employers – including the ability to work in teams, communication skills, planning skills, and problem-solving skills – than do non-mobile students.

  • Erasmus+ participants show a marked improvement in such skills after their experience abroad.

Of course, we already knew this would be the outcome of such a study, right? You are passionate about cross-cultural education. But, are you being vigilant about sharing that information in your marketing literature? If you aren’t, it is time to make it clear.

Those who study abroad are showing notable improvement in traits that make them desirable employees. If you can teach students how to leverage their time at your institution into a satisfying career, you are giving students exactly what they want.

So what else about the Erasmus+ program makes it so desirable? Affordability, affordability, affordability💰. EU students are really taking advantage of the economic benefits of this program. Many of them couldn’t have afforded to go abroad without the Erasmus+ grant. In fact, 68% of Eastern European students state that Erasmus+ grants were a major factor in their decision to go abroad for their education.

Still, others just see it as a less expensive way to study in another country. If you want to recruit in Europe you have to have programs that are equally as enticing. We know that's a hard one. But it is important to be aware of how this program is structured as you figure out how to move forward with your own plans.

Today’s students are conscientious. They are mindful of the fact that they need to do what’s best for their future careers. For many, that means choosing programs that are economically feasible and create better job prospects for the future. Students are seeking the promise of a secure future.

So, how else can you show students that the U.S. is still the right option for study? Northeastern University and Drexel know that work programs are desirable and affordability is key. What every U.S. institution has going for them is this: U.S. is better at creating jobs for young people than Europe. The unemployment rate in the European economic area is 23.7% for young people aged 15-24, while the U.S. unemployment rate for youth of the same age is 14%. This certainly won’t be your only pull factor but it is an important honorable mention, especially for those 87% of Erasmus+ students that want to become more employable abroad.

International students want to experience life in foreign environments. They want academic success. And they want a secure future. Your institution can provide these things. Tell your story and share it broadly.

Meet with us at NAFSA and tell us how you plan to do it. We'd love to hear your ideas!