Updating Results

How hiring international students can help you hit your recruitment goals

Grant Robson

Head of Employer Partnerships at Prosple
An increase in employers hiring graduates, coupled with a decrease in the total number of students has meant that employers are struggling to fill roles for their 2023 graduate cohort. Could recruiting international students be the answer?

2022 has been a challenging year for graduate recruiters. An increase in the number of companies hiring graduates, coupled with fewer students graduating, has resulted in a ‘war for talent’. This has left many employers struggling to fill their graduate positions, with employers experiencing on average, a 30% decrease in the application numbers compared with 2021. In this webinar, we posed the question, could hiring international students help graduate recruiters find the talent they are looking for?

There are more employers recruiting graduates. In fact, our data indicates a 32% increase in graduate employers in the last year alone!

On top of this, graduate employers have also increased their intake numbers, leading to a more competitive market. Employers are hiring a whopping 50% more graduates this year compared to 2021. Since 2018, there’s been a fourfold increase in the number of graduate jobs advertised on Prosple job boards.

We asked our webinar audience “does your organisation hire international students?” The results were a mixed bag.

Does your organisation hire international students? 40% Yes. 46% No. 14% Undecided.

What are the benefits of hiring international students?

  1. Limited competition

As shown in the above poll, only 40% of employers hire international students. There’s a huge opportunity to gain a leg up on other employers, especially in a candidate market where the demand for graduates is outstripping supply.

In 2020, almost 40% of the 379,800 Australian university graduates were international students. If you’re not recruiting international students, you’re missing out on a large pool of candidates.

  1. International graduates are loyal

In the webinar, the employer panel spoke about their experience hiring international students. In short, international graduates feel ‘indebted’ to the company that hired them and stick around longer at the organisation. Whilst retention rates vary depending on the company and sector, anecdotal evidence suggests that international graduates tend to have the same, if not longer tenure than their domestic counterparts.

  1. They are hungry for work

If given the opportunity, 80% of international students would prefer to stay in Australia and kickstart their careers after completing their studies. It also makes sense for them financially. International students will have invested a large amount of money to complete their degree, and Australian salaries, on average, are far higher than in emerging economies.

This means that international students bring energy and enthusiasm to work. They are extremely hungry to succeed!

  1. Increase your organisation's diversity

We all know the benefits of diversity in the workforce. Numerous studies have shown that diverse teams outperform homogeneous ones. In 2017, Boston Consulting Group surveyed 1,700 companies in eight countries to research the benefits of diversity in the workplace. The group’s study found that diverse teams drive innovation and that they produce 19% more revenue than their non-diverse counterparts.

Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, with 29.8% of Australians born overseas, and 21% having at least one parent born overseas. Our workforce should reflect our communities, and hiring international students is a great way to do this.

What do I need to do as an employer to hire international students?

The process is very similar to hiring domestic graduates, right up to the point of offering an international student a position within your organisation. Whilst it's good practice to ask students to disclose their visa status throughout the application process, it's worthwhile checking their visa status before offering them a position.

If the student is on a 500 student visa, or a bridging visa, employers generally offer the candidate an 18-month contract. Once the student secures their temporary graduate visa, the employer needs to change the end date of their fixed-term contract internally to align with the visa conditions. 

So, what are the visa options for students?

Whilst there are currently over 70 different visas available in Australia, fortunately, there are only a few common ones that are relevant to the graduate recruitment community.

Temporary Visas

  • 485 – Temporary Graduate
  • 482 – Temporary Skills Shortage
  • 491/494 – Skilled Work Regional/Employer Sponsored Regional

Permanent Visas

  • 189/190/191 – General Skilled Migration
  • 186/187 – Employer Sponsored Visas

How can I check a visa condition or status of a visa?

VEVO (Visa Entitlement Verification Online) allows visa holders, employers, education providers and other organisations to check visa conditions. Visit their website for more information: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/already-have-a-visa/check-visa-details-and-conditions/check-conditions-online 

Whilst recruiting international students is a great way to help fill skill gaps within your organisation, we shouldn’t lose sight of the positive impact we can have in developing early talent. Employers have an opportunity to do their part to increase opportunities for international students, which in turn will help Australia continue to attract the world’s brightest minds to our shores.

Have questions or feedback? Reach out [email protected]

Do you have questions about the various visa types? You can download the slide deck below. Alternatively, feel free to reach out to Imran at Khan Legal: [email protected]

The slide deck and the webinar

Visualisations of all data discussed are available in this slide deck that was shared in the webinar:

Download slides

To watch the webinar in full, click the video below!