Cross-cultural knowledge helping to enhance employability

Choosing the right postgraduate course for career development is important for many students. So how do you ensure you are developing transferable skills for employment after your Masters.

Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy and External Affairs, Chartered Management Institute argues that cross-cultural knowledge will help enhance employability. She explains here why, and how students can incorporate this into their chosen course:

The UK is a global hub for international students with over 400,000 studying from overseas last year. Yet British students travelling outside of the UK to study is relatively rare, and this is a problem. Just 1.3% of UK students travelled abroad to study or go on work placement in 2014/15.

For graduates to find jobs and succeed in today’s post Brexit world, they need international and cross-cultural knowledge. It is also critical for the UK’s competitiveness in international markets that the next generation entering the work-place understands how to compete globally.

Employers expect graduates to appreciate cultural diversity, universal business language and be familiar with globalisation. However, in terms of having a global mind-set, nearly a quarter of employers (24%) have rated graduates as weak in this area.

Many employers feel that Generation Y in Britain, those born in the 80s and 90s, lacks the global mind-set necessary for success in an interconnected world. Just one UK student studies abroad for every 15 international students in the UK and this may explain why more than half (55%) are disappointed with their foreign language skills.

What can students do to improve this?
Cross-cultural communication and awareness enhances both the student experience and individuals’ career prospects, and the future growth of UK business.

Are students encouraged to undergo a period of study or work abroad? Look for courses with options for placements, work experience and international study. According to EU Commission data, only 0.5% of UK students qualified for Erasmus funding. Having this experience on your CV could help you stand out from the crowd.

26% of business schools reported that they have branch campuses abroad – how do they use this connection and resource to enhance the career prospects of students from the UK.

Find out how the cross cultural awareness and knowledge of global markets is built into the course content. Will you be taught how to develop networks with people from a range of cultures, as well as to target relevant markets and customers in a global context?