Study Shows More Than half of SA Students Want To Work Abroad After Graduating


A survey conducted among over 1 500 South African students has revealed that 54% of the respondents plan to move abroad for work purposes in the next five years following their graduation.

The 2016 PPS Student Confidence Index (SCI) was conducted among students in their fourth-year or above, studying at a university or university of technology towards a profession-specific degree, such as engineering, medicine, law or accounting.

Students answered questionnaires online, face-to-face on campus, and via focus groups.

Technical marketing specialist at PPS, Motshabi Nomvethe, in a statement said, a possible reason why students were inclined to move abroad following their graduation could be the current economic environment and the gloomy outlook for employment in South Africa.

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“The latest figures from the Stats SA Labour Force Survey indicate that an estimated 26.7% of South Africa’s population are unemployed. These figures could motivate students to seek employment opportunities abroad,” Nomvethe said.

Nomvethe said while it was not good news that more than half of South Africa’s future professionals were planning to work overseas, they should be encouraged to return back to the country once they had acquired international expertise and plough their knowledge back into the local economy.

The PPS SCI also revealed that 69% of the respondents stated that they keep updated about economic and political issues that affect the country.

Nomvethe said these results showed that students were reading the news and accessing information via social media so they were aware of what was going on in the country.

She said this might cause students to consider whether they would be better off finding work in a foreign country.

The Expat Insider’s Inter Nations Survey conducted in 2015 also revealed that the top three reasons why South Africans considered moving abroad were personal safety, the cost of living, and the economic or labour market.

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