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Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF
20th Jul 2022

Survey shows Australia is “well poised to win back market share” as a top study destination

Short on time? Here are the highlights:
  • Navitas’ Agent Perception Survey indicates that Australia is once again a lead contender for international students – especially in South and Southeast Asia
  • Positive perceptions of Australia are almost as the same level as for Canada and the UK after falling steeply in 2021 due to prolonged border closures

More than 700 agents surveyed in May 2022 agree that international student interest in studying in Australia has bounced back significantly since the country’s borders re-opened in mid-December of 2021. Navitas’ rolling Agent Perception Survey also reveals that students now consider Australia to be virtually as safe and welcoming as Canada and the UK – a strong position to be in especially since Australia is already known for the quality of its educators and programmes and for post-graduation work rights.

Australia is once again competitive

Close to three-quarters of surveyed agents agreed that student interest had increased in the past two months compared to interest in other destinations – and more than half of agents who concurred with the statement “strongly agreed.” This is a massive change from sentiment in October 2021, when only 28% agreed that Australia was gaining ground against competitors. “Australia has substantially closed the gap with Canada and the UK on this measure,” says Navitas.

Students from South and Southeast Asia are particularly interested in studying in Australia. Fully 90% of agents in those regions said that student interest in Australia has picked up in the past two months.

Neil Fitzroy, General Manager, Global Recruitment UPA, Navitas, highlights some of the reasons that Australian educators are now poised to attract more international students:

“Australia’s mid-year intake has seen significant numbers of international students travel to Australia to commence or resume their studies. The excitement and energy on campuses across the country augurs well for further recovery and the recent agent research confirms this shift in sentiment. With >95% of the adult population fully vaccinated, COVID-safe protocols still in play and huge advances made in flexible delivery across the sector, Australia is well positioned to win back market share.”

Level of agreement with the statement, “Over the past two months there has been more interest in this country as an education destination compared to other countries.” As of May 2022, agents were almost as likely to agree that student interest has picked up for Australia as for Canada or the UK, a remarkable change from a similar survey in October 2021. Source: Navitas

Perceptions of safety go a long way

In the May 2022 survey, 8 in 10 agents said that students consider Australia to be “open and welcoming” and “safe and stable.” The chart below illustrates how different these perceptions are from what they were last year.

Comparing agent perceptions of Australia, Canada, and the UK in October 2021 vs. May 2022. Source: Navitas

“Cautious confidence”

Mr Fitzroy believes the May 2022 iteration of the company’s agent survey suggests that the Australian international education sector is rebounding, but he cautions that there is some way to go before it can truly be said to be in full recovery:

“These are green shoots, but there remains a long road ahead before we can put the last 24 months behind us, and students’ parents, sponsors and agents are hoping to see their plans come to fruition. There is cautious confidence amongst those in Australia, as well as those wishing to travel here, that we’re back in business.”

For additional background, please see:

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