The text below refers to the Erasmus Impact Study which was carried out 2012 and 2013. ESN is currently involved in a follow-up study, running 2016-2018. This is, like the first project, coordinated by CHE Consult.



  • investigate the impact of Erasmus mobility and intensive programmes on skills development, employability, institutional development and the internationalisation of Higher Education Institutions in Europe

Research report

Click here to see the full report:

The Erasmus Impact Study:
Effects of mobility on the skills and employability of students and the internationalisation of higher education institutions 


ESN, together with CHE Consult (DE), Brussels Education Services (BE) and the Compostela Group of Universities (ES), carried out the impact study on the Erasmus programme launched by the European Commission in 2012. The results of the study conducted by the consortium highlighted that mobile students are more likely to attain managerial positions in their future career. It is the first time that ESN AISBL was part of a consortium that won a bid for a public EU tender.

The Erasmus Student Network is glad to participate in such European research study and to have the opportunity to investigate the impact of Erasmus mobility and intensive programmes on skills development, employability, institutional development and the internationalisation of Higher Education Institutions in Europe. It is an ambitious project that aims at finding answers to a series of core questions that are most relevant for the future of higher education cooperation.

The study was launched in May 2013 in all European countries targeting current, former, mobile and non-mobile students all over Europe.

Key Findings

Employability and skills

  • Enhancing their employability is increasingly important for Erasmus students
  • Top motivations to study or train abroad (have not changed from recent years):
  • The opportunity to live abroad and meet new people
  • Improve foreign language proficiency
  • Develop transversal skills
  • The wish to enhance employability abroad (more than 85%)
  • Transversal skills important to employers are also the skills improved during an Erasmus period abroad
  • On average, Erasmus students have better employability skills after a stay abroad than 70% of all students
  • Based on their personality traits, they have a better predisposition for employability even before going abroad
  • By the time they return they have increased their advantage by 42% on average
  • 81% of Erasmus students perceive an improvement  in their transversal skills when they come back
  • 52% show higher memo factors
  • The share of employers who considered experience abroad to be important for employability also nearly doubled between 2006 and 2013 from 37% to 64%
  • Once they had gone abroad, mobile students also increased their advantage on the memo values over the non-mobile students by 118% for all mobile students and 42% for Erasmus students
  • More than 90% of the students reported an improvement in their soft skills, such as knowledge of other countries, their ability to interact and work with individuals from different cultures, adaptability, foreign language proficiency and communication skills
  • On average, 92% of employers are looking for transversal skills, on top of knowledge in their field (91%) and relevant work experience (78%)
  • 64% of employers consider an international experience as important for recruitment
  • 92% of employers are looking for transversal skills, such as openness to and curiosity about new challenges, problem-solving and decision-making skills, confidence, tolerance towards other personal values and behaviours
  • Erasmus students are in better position to find their first job and to enhance their career development
  • More than 1 in 3 Erasmus students who did a job placement abroad were hired or offered a position by their host company
  • Almost 1 in 10 former mobile students who did a job placement abroad has started their own company
  • More than 3 out of 4 plan to or can envisage setting up their own company
  • Former Erasmus students are half as likely to experience long-term unemployment compared to those that do not go abroad
  • The unemployment rate of Erasmus students five year after graduation is 23% lower
  • Former Erasmus students are more than twice likely to switch employer
  • Employability and competences of students greatly benefit from mobility, often more than what they had expected, but sometimes less than they might have thought
  • 64% of questioned employers report that graduates with an international background are given greater professional responsibility more frequently, a proportion that has increased by 51% since 2006


  • Erasmus students have a more international life and are more likely to live abroad
  • 40% of Erasmus alumni have moved to another country after graduation (compared to 23% of non-mobile alumni)
  • 93% of mobile students can easily imagine living abroad in the future (compared to 73% of their stay-at-home counterparts)
  • 33% of Erasmus alumni have a life partner with a different nationality than their own (compared to 13% of non-mobile alumni)
  • 27% of Erasmus alumni state that they met their current life partner during their stay abroad
  • 40% of mobile alumni had changed countries at least once since graduation, 18% more than among non-mobile alumni

HEIs – dealing with mobility issues, academic staff

  • The Erasmus programme is as inclusive as other mobility programmes
  • 46% of Erasmus students have a non-academic family background (the same proportion as other mobility programmes
  • 62% of those that are non-mobile come from a non-academic background
  • The main barriers to an experience abroad are a lack of financial resources to compensate for the additional costs and personal relationships.
  • Only 14% of non-mobile individuals did not go abroad because they were not selected by the programme; in other words, Erasmus is rather a non-selective mobility programme
  • 99% of the HEIs saw a substantial improvement  in their students’ confidence and adaptability
  • The internationalisation of HEIs benefits substantially from mobility, but services and recognition can still be improved
  • A majority of HEIs consider Erasmus to be the most relevant strategic asset of any educational programme offered to students
  • Study mobility is considered the most important in relation to internationalisation by 83% of HEIs and for their international profile (80% of HEIs)
  • More than 70% of the academic staff agreed that the most important aspect of mobility was the increase in their knowledge of good practices and skills to the benefit of their home HEI, 81% observed beneficial effects on the quality of teaching, 92% saw effects on international cooperation
  • The Erasmus programme had a positive impact on the development of teaching methods and cooperation in research
  • Academics also voiced a general complaint concerning the lack of academic, institutional and curricular recognition of staff exchanges
  • Of HEIs, 90% declared that they recognised credits from host institutions abroad and 86% of mobile students were convinced that their study programme recognised ECTS credits from a host HEI abroad
  • Only 68% of mobile students in relation to study abroad and 49% in relation to job placements abroad stated that every student interested in studying abroad received adequate information and guidance

For more information, please contact:

ESN President: [email protected] // (+32) 477 56 78 89
or ESN Director: [email protected] // (+32) 470 50 60 02