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International Graduate Numbers Increase

Media Release
26 March 2004

International Graduate Numbers Increase

The New Zealand university system is now producing more than 2300 international graduates a year, according to the latest report on university graduate destinations.

University Graduate Destinations 2003 – published by the NZ Vice-Chancellors’ Committee - looks at where the 27,088 individuals who became eligible to graduate from this country’s eight universities during 2002 ended up six months after graduation.

Of those 27,088 graduates, 2310 were classified as international in that they required a permit to undertake university study here. Of the domestic graduate population (24,778), 64.4 per cent identified themselves as European/Pakeha, 17.0 per cent as Asian (Chinese, Other Asian), 5.8 per cent as NZ Maori, 2.4 per cent as Pacific peoples and 2.3 per cent as Indian. The balance, 7.7 per cent, were in the “other” category.

Female graduates outnumbered males in both the New Zealand and international populations. Of New Zealand graduates. 57.6 per cent were female while the proportion for international graduates was 55.8 per cent.

In total 9285 graduates responded to the survey on which the report is based. Of these respondents, 8854 were New Zealand graduates and 64.6 per cent of them reported they were in full-time employment six months after graduation. The proportion undertaking further full-time study was 21.9 per cent. Of New Zealand respondents to the survey who reported being overseas (566 graduates), 61.1 per cent were in full-time employment.

Under the survey methodology it is possible for respondents to report more than one of the six destinations; full-time employment, part-time employment, full-time study, part-time study, seeking full-time employment and seeking part-time employment. In addition respondents can nominate that they are not employed, not studying and not seeking employment. Thus a respondent could report full-time study, part-time employment and seeking full-time employment. Many of the 16.5 per cent of New Zealand respondents who reported not being employed six months after graduation would in fact be undertaking further full-time study.

Of the 2310 international graduates, 22.1% listed China as their country of origin, a large change from the previous survey conducted in 2000 when only 3.6 per cent of international graduates came from that country. The previous dominant country of origin – Malaysia - now accounts for 10.6 per cent of international graduates, well down on the 36.2% recorded in 2000. Of the 244 international respondents who reported full-time employment, 57.8 per cent were located in this country and 42.2 per cent overseas. International graduates numbered 1712 in 2000.

Of all graduates from the New Zealand university system in 2002, 14.2 per cent were aged 40 or older, one per cent down on the equivalent proportion for 2000 graduates. The majority of 2002 graduates (54.7 per cent) were in the 18-to-24 age group with a further 15.3 per cent in the 25-to-29 band.

The most popular area of study for university graduates in 2002 was commerce/business (26.9 per cent), followed by social and behavioural sciences (26.8 per cent), health (10.6 per cent) and humanities (9.5 per cent).


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