More than in 1 in 3 people believe they would have a better job if they had spent time studying or living abroad, according to new research by the British Council.
The poll, conducted for the British Council by Populus, found that 79% of UK adults have not lived or studied abroad for 6 months or more. Of those, 34% believe their career prospects would have been improved if they had – equating to 17 million people. Less than a quarter believe that their prospects would have been unaffected.
The sense of regret is especially strong among under-25s, with 54% believing their lack of international experience has held them back. Geographically, people in Northern Ireland are most likely to feel that their lack of time spent abroad has harmed their prospects (53%), followed by London (42%) and the North-East (41%).
The British Council commissioned the research as part of its work to help young people in the UK develop the skills they need to compete in a global economy. The organisation’s programmes include the century-old English Language Assistant scheme, with more than 2500 places available for native English speakers to spend up to a year on paid placements in 14 countries, assisting in English language teaching. Famous former Language Assistants include JK Rowling, Alastair Campbell and Sophie Raworth. The British Council also runs the Erasmus programme – which enables UK university students to study or work in 33 European countries.