Employment of international education graduates: Issues of economy and resistance to change

Dilrabo Jonbekova, Tatyana Kim, Sulushash Kerimkulova, Alan Ruby, Jason Sparks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The use of international scholarship programmes is part of a long-standing approach to human capital development in many developing and middle-income countries that finance studies at universities abroad and locally. Yet, many scholarship alumni struggle to thrive in their home country and encounter numerous difficulties in their transition to the job market. This paper examines the employment experiences of Kazakhstan's government scholarship alumni in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields and identifies the challenges they encounter navigating the labour market. Our analysis of 45 interviews demonstrated that although alumni hold a positional advantage in the job market and many succeed, there are also many alumni whose employability and career success are impeded by an intersection of socioeconomic and cultural factors, intergenerational clashes and scholarship programme regulations. The implications for scholarship programmes and government policy goals are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-633
Number of pages16
JournalHigher Education Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Central Asia
  • employability
  • international education
  • international scholarship programmes
  • Kazakhstan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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