Are You Facing Job Insecurity? Or Deep Into It…

Where the Field of International Education Finds Itself in 2020

  • Reassess your personal needs & professional expectations in this extremely fluid and unprecedented time
  • The pandemic has radically halted the momentum built up over the past decade in our field –the expansion of education abroad has been stalled everywhere as has the globalization of student mobility
  • Predictions are difficult: As with other sectors, campuses and providers in the education abroad community have differing strengths and weaknesses. Last year, IIE (over 100 years old) in NY went through financial difficulty, CIEE (75 yrs old) just laid off 600 staff and had to cancel all of their intl programs.  
  • It’s hard to predict or “play” the job market now. We are left with more questions than answers: Will campuses re-hire furloughed program staff? Will campuses re-open programs to the same destinations later this year and into 2021?  Will we see a more splintered geographic map for education abroad? Less mobility to developing nations whose infrastructure and health systems are now devastated? 
  • Will the coming generation of students measurably turn away from international experience outside the U.S. and instead look to domestic programs with a focus on internationalization-at-home? For example, service-learning
  • Will all the chaos facing the field now result in setting back efforts to diversify the IE field?

What are the implications for you as a job seeker in the field?

  • Likely that new hiring will be on hold for many months (perhaps deep into 2021); at least until we know more about when the economy can “re-open.”
  • When airlines again fly their usual routes…When it’s clear how campuses and providers are able to re-schedule programs they can still afford to offer and to safe destinations.
  • When campuses and providers more clearly see what their short and medium term financial situation looks like.

What you can do?

  • Reflect on your transferable skills. Strengthen new ones!
  • Review and re-assess your strengths – identify skill deficits which could be a bridge to new employment (e.g. language, public speaking, tech)
  • Research organizations which align with your skills, interests and values
  • Revive & renew professional networking; identify new contacts in a purposeful way. Lean-in to your trusted friends and colleagues.
  • Discern who are your most trusted allies and actively seek out their counsel

These are two organizations run by trusted professionals whom I know and have worked with. See if the resources they provide offer you opportunities to hone your skills and explore new paths to employability:

Global Leadership League

The Global Leadership League was started by a group of women in the field of international education for the purposes of advancing women’s leadership skills, knowledge, and connections.


Melibee Global

The Swarm on Culture, Identity, and  Perspective. An innovative, experiential, and practical LIVE online gathering to explore culture, identity, and perspective in a very unique way.

Scholarships for The Swarm:

2 Comments on “Are You Facing Job Insecurity? Or Deep Into It…

  1. Reblogged this on Global Career Compass and commented:

    Written over a year ago, I have to say that my comments have largely come to pass. And yet, we remain in a time of tremendous flux – both for our field and with respect to the job market on campuses and in non-academic organizations.

    My advice: with more openings just beginning to appear, now is the time to aggressively engage in a job search. Most importantly, touch base with your professional colleagues and friends and let them know you are actively looking!! Do not assume they know that. Remain flexible, if possible, about geography.

    I think the job market will remain in flux throughout this Fall and into next year.

  2. The International Educator Circle is a group dedicated to supporting unemployed international educators. We share resources and insight to help others remain connected to the field.

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