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Recruiting Intelligence

Global Competition for Students: Canada on the right track

Recruiting international students is a global competition between different academic institutions, but also between different country destinations. The attractiveness of a destination is highly significant among international students' selection criteria - both in terms of which country and which location within that country. ICEF and i-Graduate conduct an annual survey of recruiting agents, which are a great proxy for the trends and demands in the market place for higher education. As chart 1 (below) shows, the U.S. continues to hold a lead in the attractiveness ahead of Canada, the U.K. and Australia.

The overall attractiveness of a the country is driven by many macro factors outside the control of the individual institution. A leading and attractive factor international students (and their parents) consider when selecting a country for the student's study is that the country is English-speaking. Other important criteria include visa rules, the general economic climate and employment opportunities as well as factors such as perceived risks and crime level.

Source: ICEF & i-Graduate Agent Barometer 2012

Look at Chart 2 (below) to see the impact of recent macro trends, heavily influenced by government policies. Canadian academic institutions have gained significantly in their attractiveness during the past four years, matching the United Kingdom (U.K.) last year for the first time. The U.K. fell from 71 to 64 percent, a decline of almost 10 percent. It appears that the Canadian government's more open and more student friendly visa policy combined with increased marketing efforts have worked. Still, it is important to note that despite tuition cost increases and visa rule restrictions, the U.K. remains the envy for most markets with a combined rating of 93 percent for attractive and very attractive.

Global competition is heating up, becoming more diverse and stronger than very attractive ratings appear to suggest. Pay attention to the attractive ratings for an additional 8 countries with ratings in excess of 66 percent for the top two attractiveness categories. English-speaking markets have an advantage, but they are not the only option available to students and parents.

Source: ICEF & i-Graduate Agent Barometer 2012
Topics: Insights