Current Trends in Education and Jobs in the UK for International Students | Tips for International Students to get Jobs in the UK
The United Kingdom (UK) has always been one of the most preferred study abroad destinations for international students, including Indians. Recently, the UK has been going through turmoil due to the scrapping of the post-study-work scheme and Brexit-vote. International students (and even their parents) fear that they might not get a job in the UK, after completing studies in the UK. It’s not all dark and gloomy for international students in the UK. There is some interesting stuff for international students about study in the UK. Additionally, as per the latest news, foreign graduates will be allowed to stay for up to 2 years under the new post-study work visa rules (announced on Sep 10, 2019).
The UK has got a rich academic heritage and reputation for high-quality education, and it is the home to some of the oldest and most prestigious universities. UK universities rank consistently among the Top 100 universities of the world. London is still one of the strongest financial and banking hubs of the world. Last but not the least; the UK has also been a pioneer in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, arts, music and so on. But, there have been some serious changes that have led to a lot of competition in the job market. More specifically, it has led to the assumption (even belief) that it is impossible to get a job in the UK for an international student. Well, it’s not true at all.
The fact is you can stay in the UK after finishing your degree on a Tier 2 visa (work permit), provided you have got a job as per your qualification. You cannot stay in the UK doing an odd job with a degree in Engineering or Finance. It is indeed fiercely competitive for international students to get a job in the UK. Approximately, 50, 000 international students get graduated in the UK every year. In 2014, only 5, 639 international students were granted a Tier 2 visa (Source: The Guardian). So, approximately 90% of the international students have to return back to their respective home countries.
But, it is nothing sort of impossible. In order to get a job and stay in the UK, you just need to be qualified, skillful, strategic and proactive. So, let’s have a look at the current trends in education and jobs in the UK for international students, and how to get a job in the UK as international students.
Current Trends in Education and Jobs in the UK for International Students
Undergraduate Study in the UK for International Students
As you can see the from the UCAS data above, around 50, 000 international (Non-EU) students apply to the UK universities for undergraduate studies. For 2017 intake, the exact figure is 52, 630 (as of the UCAS application deadline of January 15, 2017), which is very similar to the 2016 data (52, 560). Now let’s see what subject fields are trending among the international students.
Best Subjects for International Students for Undergraduate Study in the UK
- Business & Admin Studies
- Social Studies
- Biological Sciences
- Creative Arts & Design
- Medicine & Dentistry
- Subjects Allied to Medicine
- Computer Sciences
- Physical Sciences
Trending Subjects for International Students for Undergraduate Study in the UK
So, international students are still showing enough interest in the UK for studying the above subject fields. But, if you carefully look at the figures from 2013 to 2017, the following three subject fields have gathered much more interest over the past 5 years:
- Computer Sciences
- Biological Sciences
- Physical Sciences
- Creative Arts & Design
- Veterinary & Agricultural Sciences
Does that mean anything? Well of course!
The universities are not only providing good quality education but also putting much more emphasis on practical training, internships, and placements in order to make the international students gaining the edge in the job market. There is another factor as well; keep reading 🙂
Skill Shortage Jobs in the UK
There is another reason, and could be more crucial for international students – most of those subject fields can lead to the jobs that are under the skill-shortage category. The concerned body of the UK Government carries out research to identify skill shortages in the UK job market. The skill shortage list includes skilled occupations that the UK employers find it difficult to recruit (or fill) for. So, for these kinds of jobs, it is easier for international students to get the jobs, provided they have got the relevant qualification and skill-set. Let’s have a look at the top job categories that are under the skill shortage in the UK.
- Physical Sciences: Geophysics, Geochemistry, Geology, Hydrogeology
- Civil Engineering
- Petroleum Engineering
- Oil & Gas Engineering
- Mining Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Chemical & Process Engineering
- Environmental Engineering & Renewable Energy
- IT & Computer Sciences: Programming, Software Engineering, Data Science, Cyber Security, Games Design,
- Animation & Visual Effects
- Systems Engineering
- Medical Diagnostics
- Medical Physics
- Medicine (specific specializations only)
- Dance & Music
- Graphic Design
Caution for Study Abroad Aspirants to Study in UK
Pursuing a degree in one of the above fields will increase your chances of employability in the UK. But, don’t assume that a job is guaranteed. You still need to work hard, develop a particular skill set and apply yourself.
For example, Data Science is huge demand all over the globe these days. What I have seen in the last few years is that someone from Electronics & Communication or Commerce background go abroad for pursuing a Masters in Data Science. Don’t do that. You need to have proper skill set and experience in Data Science. For example in the UK, to get employed as a Data Scientist by a qualifying company needs a minimum of five years of relevant experience, leadership skills and a minimum salary of GBP 33, 000 per year. So, do choose carefully what to study.
Recommended Post: Masters in UK with Placements & Paid Internships
Tips for International Students to get Jobs in the UK
Don’t wait until the last moment for applying to internships or jobs. If you are a Masters student in the UK, you have to get started within two months after landing in the UK. It is competitive, so don’t just sit back and relax.
Develop and Refine Your Skill Set
Whether you are pursuing a Bachelor or Master, you should have a rare skill set along with other technical and generalist skills. This will help you to get sponsored by the company. You can apply for the Tier 2 Visa yourself once you get a job and the Certificate of Sponsorship from a licensed employer.
You’re in a new country, and you are about to face stiff competition for a graduate or post-graduate job. You need to network rigorously, both in-person and online (LinkedIn, beBee etc.). Learn more about Strategic & Effective Networking.
Invest Time in your Personal Branding
This is something several folks underestimate. But, in today’s digital age, having a consistent and strong personal brand online can take you a long way. Read about the Best Tips to Build a Strong Online Brand for Yourself in order to Get Jobs and How to Promote Your Personal Brand.
Choose Universities Carefully
You don’t necessarily need to attend the top 5 in the country for getting a job. But, do choose the university wisely. You need to consider the subject rankings, industry tie-ups & links, employer reputation, graduate employability rate etc.
Recommended Post: How to get a job in the UK as an international student
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Author: Tanmoy Ray
I am a Career Adviser & MS Admission Consultant. Additionally, I also manage online marketing at Stoodnt. I did my Masters from the UK (Aston University) and have worked at the University of Oxford (UK), Utrecht University (Netherlands), University of New South Wales (Australia) and MeetUniversity (India).
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