No brain-drain for Australian university students

SEMrush Higher Education Study shows Australians prefer to study at home

A Higher Education Study has found that Australia is not under any threat of a brain-drain anytime soon. According to the latest SEMrush research, Australian students are not eager to leave the motherland to do their higher education in other countries. Whilst Google search volumes show how much more interest there is in attending universities in Sydney and Melbourne primarily from students locally.

The SEMrush study found that there are about 3,000 Australian Google searches per month related to universities in Australia. This is followed by a much smaller number of searches for universities in Hong Kong (1,300), New Zealand (1,000), Korea (720) and Singapore (590).   

“We found that while the rest of the world’s undergraduates are fairly keen and comfortable to study overseas, Australian students primarily want to study in Sydney or Melbourne followed by Canberra,” said Olga Andrienko, Head of Global Marketing of online marketing data provider, SEMrush.

The interest from Australian students in attending a university in Asia Pacific is not a big surprise, due to its proximity and also the state of the art facilities some of these uber high tech countries do offer. A large part of South Korea’s economy is reliant on its fast-growing higher education sector. This year, the number of foreign students studying in South Korea increased by a record-high of 18.8 percent and exceeded 123,800 students.

Hong Kong attracts a lot of international students too, providing a lot of social programmes and degree courses in English.  While the National University of Singapore, the oldest and the largest university in the country, ranks in the top 30 globally. It’s famous for its entrepreneurial opportunities, research and international outlook and is renowned for its outstanding achievements in engineering and technology.

SEMrush researched all of the major Australian cities as well as states and territories and found that Australian students want to study primarily in Sydney and Melbourne, which were found to be equal in interest with 38.9 percent of the searches each, equating to more than 70,000 queries per month. Universities in Canberra were next most popular, with 17.4 percent, over 30,000 of the searches.

 The map shows how top searches are divided between universities in different cities


Being the fourth university to be established in Australia, the University of Tasmania is the most popular search online in terms of higher education in Australian states with more than 18,000 searches per month. It is followed by the Universities of South Australia and Western Australia and each of them with around 32,000 students enrolled each.

Australia is now attracting record numbers of international students, who make up more than a quarter of enrolments at some universities. According to the latest data from the Department of Education, the number of international students attending university in Australia has increased by 12 percent compared to the previous year. There were 542,054 foreign student university enrolments at the start of the academic year this February, up from just over 300,000 five years ago.

About SEMrush

SEMrush is a trusted data provider on search volume, website traffic and digital trends. Comprised of over 30 tools and collecting search data for 140 countries, SEMrush provides SEO, PPC and content marketing solutions for in-house marketing teams and agencies that work with clients in any industry.

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