This in turn has a positive effect on their finding interesting employment and higher positions with their employers. It even has an impact on their personal relationships, as many students find a partner while abroad.
There has been a dramatic shift in recent years in the attitude of employers to international experience. There was a time when many employers were not particularly impressed if you had been overseas, but today 51% of employers consider international experience an important factor in choosing employees. Indeed, 30% consider it a basic requirement for the job. Studies show that 85% of Erasmus students go abroad in part to improve their chances of employment and these figures tell us they are making a wise choice.
So valuable is an Erasmus placement on your CV that all employers consider it desirable. International experience stands at the top and for many students, Erasmus, with its funding structure, can be the only way to gain that experience.
Salary is also affected, with a doubling over recent years of the number of employees with international experience having a higher salary because of it. Perhaps even more striking though is that fact that many people with international experience do not have a higher salary, because employers considered it a basic job requirement – they would not have had the job at all but for the time they spent overseas.
Erasmus students of course gain specific skills in their field, but more importantly they gain skills that are valuable across many fields, so your ability to adapt to openings in new fields will be enhanced. Employers have indicated that they place great value on skills such as:
All of these skills have been shown to develop and be enhanced by the Erasmus experience.
According to the Erasmus Impact Study, taking advantage of this programme has a big long-term impact on your future. Erasmus students are half as likely to suffer long-term unemployment. After five years, the unemployment rate among Erasmus alumni is 23% lower than among their fellow graduates who did not go abroad. They are also more likely to have moved on to higher studies. Even after ten years, Erasmus alumni were still more likely to be employed than their peers.
Erasmus also helps raise you to a higher level in your career. After five years there was already an increase in the number of people in managerial positions, 57% versus 53% among those who did not do an Erasmus placement, but much more impressively, after ten years 77% of Erasmus students were in leadership roles, a full 20% more than among their peers.
In a world where creating your own job can be the best career path, Erasmus students again stood out. 7% of Erasmus students started their own businesses, which is a very high percentage for new graduates. Over 40% could see themselves doing it and 30% had definite plans to do so, which again is a large number.
After you complete your Erasmus placement and graduate, one thing is certain. You will be more likely to move to another country. A full 40% of former Erasmus students did so, in comparison with only 23% of their peers. Even students still in their home country have a much more international viewpoint in part as a result of their Erasmus experience. A full 93% of former Erasmus students can envisage themselves living and working overseas, compared to only 73% of their stay-at-home peers.
There is of course more to life than work and a career. So it is perhaps not remarkable to discover that taking advantage of Erasmus will have a positive impact on your personal life too. It turns out that 33% of Erasmus alumni have a life-partner from another country, compared to only 13% of their peers. Almost all of them (27%) met that partner during their time abroad
As a result of that it is estimated that a million babies have been born from those meetings. As the Italian novelist Umberto Eco put it:
a young Catalan man meets a Flemish girl – they fall in love, they get married and they become European, as do their children.