Grads with global experience make companies more competitive — survey

December 1, 2014
News

CALGARY – Two out of three employers in Canada say the country is in danger of being left behind by fast-growing countries such as China, India and Brazil unless young Canadians learn to think more globally.

That’s the finding of a recent survey of small and medium-sized employers by Leger Marketing for the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. The results highlight the importance of global experiences to today’s employers, with a majority of respondents who hire new recruits with international and intercultural skills saying these employees have improved the competitiveness of their business. These same employers also value experiences in other parts of Canada as an asset in the hiring process.

More than 400 enterprises across Canada, representing a broad range of industry sectors, were surveyed between August and September 2014.

The release of the survey results today coincides with a two-day workshop in Calgary that brings together university leaders and senior representatives from government, business and student groups to focus on strategies that will enable more students to become globally and interprovincially mobile by 2017, Canada’s 150th anniversary.

The event, “Know Canada, Know the World,” is a forum for Canada’s university leaders to discuss opportunities to build a greater culture of mobility among Canadian students. University study-abroad programs help young Canadians develop the international and intercultural competencies that are in high demand by employers in today’s global knowledge economy.

Key findings:

  • Two out of three hiring managers surveyed said Canada is at risk of being overtaken by dynamic economies like China, India and Brazil unless young Canadians learn to think more globally.
  • Eighty-two percent of those that hire recruits with international and intercultural experiences say employees who possess cross-cultural knowledge and an understanding of the global marketplace enhance their company’s competitiveness. Almost 60 percent of these employers also believe interprovincial experience is an asset when considering candidates for positions in their companies.
  • Seventy-two percent of the employers that hire recruits with international and intercultural experiences believe that these graduates perform better in their job than do others without these experiences.
  • Two-thirds of employers that hire recruits with international and intercultural experiences say they value the skills that students obtain by participating in mobility programs.

Quotes:

“Employers know they need to hire people with global skills,” says Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “Unfortunately, too few Canadian students go abroad for a study experience during the course of their degree. Only about three percent of university students have an international learning experience each year. Investing in more global opportunities for students makes good economic sense.”

“Universities are committed to providing their students with more opportunities to study abroad through strategic institutional partnerships in dynamic economies like China, India and Brazil. Government, the private sector and universities need to work together to make our students the global leaders of tomorrow,” says Mr. Davidson.

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Further survey results are available upon request.

Tagged:  Global connections, Study abroad

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Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, representing the interests of 97 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities.

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Helen Murphy
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Universities Canada
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Nadine Robitaille
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