International student mobility is often promoted as enhancing graduates’ employability in globalised labour markets. Nevertheless, empirical evidence on this assumed causal link remains limited. Particularly the perspectives of employers remains understudied. Therefore, in this paper I analyse (1) whether European employers value study abroad; (2) which specific skills employers need when valuing international experience; and (3) whether ‘signaling effects’ of employing international graduates exist. The analyses are based on Flash Eurobarometer 304 ‘Employers’ perception of graduate employability’ (n = 7036), conducted in 31 countries. The results reveal that a minority of employers consider international experience when making recruitment decisions. However, significant variability across the countries can be detected. Furthermore, the findings indicate that international education is particularly valued when employers need graduates with good foreign language and decision-making skills. In addition, the results indicate that with higher shares of foreign graduates in a company, the likelihood international experience is valued increases.
- international student mobility
- multi-level analysis