This paper reports the findings of an Australian qualitative study (N = 45) concerned with the way that employers, academics and students perceived connections between international experience and graduate employability. Drawing on the literature, the authors argue that increasing globalisation and internationalisation has heightened the need for graduates with the ability to operate in culturally diverse contexts. Universities have focussed upon exchange as part of internationalisation to prepare students for work but there is still limited literature on the nature of the relationship between international experience, more broadly and graduate employability. The findings suggest that all stakeholders identify clear connections between international experience and employability given outcomes associated with the forging of networks, opportunities for experiential learning, language acquisition and the development of soft skills related to cultural understandings, personal characteristics and ways of thinking.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
AIESEC. (2007). Every day starts today. Global Annual Report, Andergroup, Switzerland, http://www.aiesec.org/cms/aiesec/AI/Asia%20Pacific/AUSTRALIA/index.html Accessed 5 Aug 2008.
Amaral, A., & Magalhaes, A. (2004). Epidemiology and bologna saga. Higher Education, 48, 79–100.
Barrie, S. (2004). A research-based approach to generic graduate attributes policy. Higher Education and Development, 23(3), 261–275.
Berrell, M., Teal, G., & Gloet, M. (2005). Culture and globalisation in the curriculum: Theory, cases and practice. Journal of New Business Ideas and Trends, 3(1), 1–8.
Bird, A. (2008). Assessing global leadership competencies. In M. Mendenhall, J. Osland, A. Bird, G. Oddou, M. Maznevski, et al. (Eds.), Global leadership. Research, practice and development (pp. 64–81). London: Routledge.
Bogdan, R., & Bikklen, S. (2003). Qualitative research for education. An introduction to theories and methods. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Bremer, L. (1998). The value of international study experience on the labour market: the case of Hungary: A study on the impact of Tempus on Hungarian students and their transition to work. Journal of Studies in International Education, 40–57.
Cacioppe, R. (1998). An integrated model and approach for the design of effective leadership development programs. Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 19(1), 44–53.
Cassidy, S. (2006). Developing employability skills: Peer assessment in higher education. Education and Training, 48(7), 508–517.
Chan, W., & Dimmock, C. (2008). The internationalisation of universities. Globalist, internationalist and translocalist models. Journal of Research in International Education, 7(2), 184–204.
Clarke, K. (2005). Critical, multicultural education for remembering and reconciliation: A discussion of an interdisciplinary social science course for international students in Finland. Compare, 35(4), 479–494.
Cowen, R. (2007). An appraisal of European exchange programs for nursing students. Nursing Standard, 21(22), 40–47.
Cox, S., & King, D. (2006). Skill sets: An approach to embed employability in course design. Education and Training, 48(4), 262–274.
Cranmer, S. (2006). Enhancing graduate employability: Best intentions and mixed outcomes. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 169–184.
Cuthbert, D., Smith, W., & Boey, J. (2008). What do we really know about the outcomes of Australian international education? A critical review and prospectus for future research. Journal of International Studies, 12(3), 255–275.
Davis, D., Milne, C., & Olsen, A. (1999). Becoming internationally competitive: The value of international experience for Australian students. Canberra: IDP Education Australia.
De Anca, C., & Vázquez, A. (2007). Managing diversity in the global organization. Creating new business values. (trans: Andy Goodall). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Dickmann, M., & Doherty, N. (2008). Exploring the career capital impact of international assignments within distinct organizational contexts. British Journal of Management, 19, 145–161.
Dickmann, M., & Harris, H. (2005). Developing career capital for global careers: The role of international assignments. Journal of World Business, 40(4), 399–408.
Dubrin, A., Dalglish, C., & Miller, P. (2006). Leadership. Milton, Qld: Wiley.
Earley, P., Soon, A., & Tan, J. (2006). Developing cultural intelligence at work. Stanford, California: Stanford Business Books.
Ellingboe, B. (1998). Divisional strategies to internationalize a campus portrait. Results, resistance, and recommendations from a case study at a US university. In J. Mestenhauser & B. Ellingboe (Eds.), Reforming the higher education curriculum. Internationalizing the campus. Phoenix, Arizona: The American Council on Education and the Oryx Press.
Foddy, W. (1999). Constructing questions for interviews and questionnaires. Theory and practice in social research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Forrier, A., & Sels, L. (2003). The concept of employability: A complex mosaic. International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 3(20), 102–124.
Fugate, M., Kinicki, A. J., & Ashforth, B. E. (2004). Employability: A psycho-social construct, its dimensions, and applications. Journal of Vocational Behaviour, 65, 14–38.
Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. Strategies for qualitative research. New York: Aldine Publishing Company.
Goby, V. (2007). Business communication needs. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 21(4), 425–437.
Gosling, J., & Mintzberg, H. (2003). The five minds of a manager. Harvard Business Review, 81(11), 54–63.
Goulding, C. (2006). A practical guide for management, business and market researchers. London: Sage.
Gupta, V., & House, R. (2004). Understanding leadership in diverse cultures: Implications of project GLOBE for leading international ventures. In D. Tjosvold & L. Kwok (Eds.), Leading in high growth Asia. Managing relationship for teamwork and change (pp. 3–54). New Jersey: World Scientific.
Harvey, L. (2001). Defining and measuring employability. Quality in Higher Education, 7(2), 97–109.
Harvey, L., & Bowers-Brown, T. (2004). Employability cross country comparisons. Graduate Market Trends Winter 2004/5.
Herfst, S., van Oudenhoven, J., & Timmerman, M. (2007). Intercultural effectiveness training in three western immigrant countries: A cross-cultural evaluation of critical incidents. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 32, 67–80.
Hermans, J. (2007). High potentials: A CEO perspective. Journal of Studies in International Education, 11(3/4), 510–521.
Hillage, J., & Pollard, E. (1998). Employability: Developing a framework for policy analysis. DFEE. London: Department for Education and Employment.
Hills, J. M., Robertson, G., Walker, R., Adey, M. A., & Nixon, I. (2003). Bridging the gap between degree programme curricula and employability through implementation of work-related learning. Teaching in Higher Education, 8(2), 211–231.
Hodges, D., & Burchell, N. (2003). Business graduate competencies: Employers’ views on importance and performance. Asia Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 4(2), 16–22.
House, R., Hanges, P., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P., & Gupta, V. (Eds.). (2004). Culture, leadership and organisations. The globe study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Inkson, K., & Arthur, M. B. (2001). How to be a successful career capitalist. Organizational Dynamics, 30(1), 48–61.
Knight, J. (1997a). A shared vision? Stakeholders’ perspectives on the internationalisation of higher education in Canada. Journal of Studies in International Education, 1(1), 27–44.
Knight, J. (1997b). Internationalisation of higher education: a conceptual framework. In J. Knight & H. de Wit (Eds.), Internationalisation of higher education in Asia Pacific countries. Amsterdam: EAIE/IDP.
Knight, J. (2004). Internationalisation remodeled: Definition, approaches, and rationales. Journal of Studies in International Education, 8(1), 5–31.
Koskinen, L., & Tossavainen, K. (2003). Relationships with undergraduate nursing exchange students—A tutor perspective. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 41(5), 499–508.
Kuzel, A. (1999). Sampling in qualitative inquiry. In B. Crabtree & W. Miller (Eds.), Doing qualitative research (pp. 33–47). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Leask, B. (2007). Chapter 8 Internationalisation of the curriculum in an interconnected world. In G. Crosling, L. Thomas, & M. Heagney (Eds.), Improving student retention in higher education—The role of teaching and learning (pp. 95–101). Routledge: Abingdon.
Leckey, J. F., & McGuigan, M. A. (1997). Right tracks—Wrong rails: The development of generic skills in higher education. Research in Higher Education, 38(3), 365–378.
Ledwith, S., & Seymour, D. (2001). Home and away: Preparing students for multicultural management. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 12(8), 1292–1312.
Leininger, M. (1994). Evaluation criteria and critique of qualitative research studies. In J. Morse (Ed.), Critical issues in qualitative research methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Little, B. (2001). Reading between the lines of graduate employment. Quality in Higher Education, 7(2), 121–129.
Lunn, J. (2008). Global perspectives in higher education: Taking the agenda forward in the United Kingdom. Journal of Studies in International Education, 12(3), 231–254.
Mak, A., Barker, M., Logan, G., & Millman, L. (1999). Benefits of cultural diversity for international and local students: Contributions from an experiential social learning program (The Excel Program). In D. Davis & A. Olsen (Eds.), International education: The professional edge, a set of research papers presented at the 13th Australian International Education Conference. Freemantle: Education Australia.
Marcotte, C., Desroches, J., & Poupart, I. (2007). Preparing internationally minded business graduates: The role of international mobility programs. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 31, 655–668.
Marginson, S. (2000). Rethinking academic work in the global era. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 22(1), 23–35.
McQuaid, R. W., & Lindsay, C. (2005). The concept of employability. Urban Studies, 42(2), 197–219.
Melkman, A., & Trotman, J. (2005). Training international managers, designing, deploying and delivering effective training for multi-cultural groups. Aldershot, UK: Gower.
Mendenhall, M. (2008). Leadership and the birth of global leadership. In M. Mendenhall, J. Osland, A. Bird, G. Oddou, M. Maznevski, et al. (Eds.), Global leadership. Research, practice and development (pp. 1–18). London: Routledge.
Mir, R., Mir, A., & Wong, D. (2006). Diversity. The cultural logic of global capital? In A. Konrad, P. Prasad, & J. Pringle (Eds.), Handbook of workplace diversity. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
OECD Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (2005). Education at a glance 2005. Paris.
Osland, J. (2008a). The multidisciplinary roots of global leadership. In M. Mendenhall, J. Osland, A. Bird, G. Oddou, & M. Maznevski (Eds.), Global leadership. Research, practice and development (pp. 18–34). London: Routledge.
Osland, J. (2008b). Overview of the global leadership literature. In M. Mendenhall, J. Osland, A. Bird, G. Oddou, & M. Maznevski (Eds.), Global leadership. Research, practice and development (pp. 34–64). London: Routledge.
Parry, K., & Proctor-Thompson, S. (2003). Leader career development. Who should take responsibility? Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 41(3), 316–337.
Patton, M. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Quek, A. (2005). Learning for the workplace: A case study in graduate employees’ generic competencies. Journal of Workplace Learning, 17(4), 231–242.
Rossen, R., Digh, P., Singer, M., & Phillips, C. (2000). Global literacies. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Rothwell, A., & Arnold, J. (2007). Self-perceived employability development and validation of a scale. Personnel Review, 36(1), 23–41.
Schneider, S., & Barsoux, J. (2003). Managing across cultures. London: Prentice Hall.
Shah, A., Pell, K., & Brooks, P. (2004). Beyond first destinations. Active learning in higher education, 5(1), 9–26.
Spreiltzer, G., McCall, W., & Mahoney, J. (1997). Early identification of international executive potential. Journal of Applied Psychology, 82(1), 6–29.
Stohl, C. (2001). Globalizing organizational communication. In F. Jablin & L. Putnam (Eds.), The new handbook of organizational communication. Accessing theory, research and methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1994). Grounded theory methodology. An overview. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Suutari, V. (2002). Global leader development: An emerging research agenda. Career Development International, 7(4), 218–233.
Teichler, U. (2004). The changing debate on internationalisation of higher education. Higher Education, 48, 5–26.
Teichler, U. (2007). Does higher education matter? Lessons from a comparative graduate survey. European Journal of Education, 42(1), 11–34.
Teichler, U., & Jahr, V. (2001). Mobility during the course of study and after graduation? European Journal of Education, 36(4), 443–458.
Thijssen, G. L., Van Der Heijden, B. I. J. M., & Rocco, T. S. (2008). Toward the employability link model: Current employment transition to future employment perspectives. Human Resource Development Review, 7(2), 165–183.
Thomas, D., & Inkson, K. (2004). Cultural intelligence. People skills for global business. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Tung, R., & Thomas, D. (2003). Human resource management in a global world: The contingency framework extended. In D. Tjosvold & L. Kwok (Eds.), Cross-cultural management. Foundations, future. Hampshire, England: Ashgate.
Van Buren III, H. J. (2003). Boundaryless careers and employability obligations. Business Ethics Quarterly, 13(2), 131–149.
Webb, G. (2005). Internationalisation of curriculum. An institutional approach. In J. Carroll & J. Ryan (Eds.), Teaching international students. Improving learning for all. Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge.
Welch, A., & Denman, B. (1997). Internationalisation of higher education: Retrospect and prospect. Forum of Education, 52, 14–29.
About this article
Cite this article
Crossman, J.E., Clarke, M. International experience and graduate employability: stakeholder perceptions on the connection. High Educ 59, 599–613 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-009-9268-z
- Higher education
- International education