Outlook Recruitment Partners Must Adopt for 2022
Several surveys conducted among agents from different countries find that international agents have been highly active in their roles during the pandemic despite travel being restricted to the most sought-after countries for international education.As most recruitment agents steer their students to Canada and the United Kingdom, demand for the United States appears to be at an all-time high, with the majority of these agents mostly represented students in Asia (44%), Africa (13%), and Latin America (13 %).
Despite restrictions, agents are working tirelessly as many are regularly contacting students intending to study abroad. Around 49% of agents informed that communication with students has increased compared to last year, while 16% said that the frequency remained the same. A large majority claimed they have improved or maintained communication with educators, and 74% have formed new collaborations with schools/universities.
The pandemic brought along with it a lot of uncertainty, leading to long hours of work for recruitment agents. With continuation in deferrals and a large number of cancellations for the Fall 2021 intake, more than 39% of the recruitment agents reported that their students switched to another destination. The pandemic has also made the student’s decision-making process more complicated, thus taking a longer time, making the agent’s job trickier.
The wait & watch situation has been observed lately wherein students opt for the destination that promises availability early as compared to others. In other cases, these students continue to study online from the comfort of their homes, waiting for the travel to open. The decision-making process will continue to be a long one until borders open again and travel restrictions are lifted.
It was also reported that border closures became the prime obstacle for the students aspiring to study abroad followed by delays in visa processing or visa suspension. With classes moving online, students continue to face difficulties in terms of the time difference, lack of proper internet connection, difficulty learning online and with financial difficulties. Students are more than ever concerned about health, insurance, accommodation, as well as the availability of flights and other quarantine requirements.
With the ongoing trends in international education, agents suggest that a mix of in-person and online classes as well as purely online classes will be the new norm in 2021 and onwards. Among the courses offered by agents to their students, online courses have less than 10% mention. Undergraduate programs have high levels of ongoing recruitment with only 14% of agents not recruiting currently. On the other hand, language courses and schools have seen a decline in recruitment.
Canada continues to remain a high priority when cited by the agents for recruitment followed by the United Kingdom when considering language courses, pathway/undergraduate programs, and to a lesser extent, the graduate programs. Australia used to be a popular destination to consider for students & recruitment partners, but given the current situation and Australia’s borders being closed, the recruiting for this country has seen an all-time low.
The United States lags behind Canada and the United Kingdom in terms of where agents are recruiting, although agents report that demand for the United States is beginning to rise.
Many agents think that international student registration will be lower in 2021 than in 2019, despite increasing student demand. These predictions are likely to shift in the coming months if vaccine rollouts are accelerated and travel restrictions are relaxed. However, agents are optimistic about their businesses improving in 2021 and into 2022.
While the trends on international education have seen multiple changes over the last 2 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2022 seems hopeful for the recruitment partners.
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