A new report conducted among education agents in countries around the world show that amid a badly disrupted revenue model, agents are optimistic of recruiting students online during Covid-19.
Surveying 775 agents located in countries as diverse as India, Colombia, South Korea and Turkey, the report ‘Online Recruitment: Agent Toolkit, Challenges and Gaps to Fill’ from international education provider M Square Media (MSM) showed that 63.4% of respondents are highly optimistic about their recruitment in the next 12 months, followed by 23% who are somewhat optimistic and 13% who are neutral.
Of the survey participants, 65% use a mix of online and offline tools while the remaining 35% went completely online. Email topped the list as used by 713 or 92% of respondents, followed by phone calls (691 or 89.2%), social media (618 or 79.7%), and mailed-in or distributed flyers and materials (310 or 40%).
When asked about the source of their optimism in online recruitment, 594 respondents or 76.6% cited the lifting of travel restrictions, 449 or 57.9% mentioned the Covid-19 vaccine. Interestingly, 274 respondents or 35.4% pointed to automation platforms for recruitment.
65% of agents recruited with a mix of online and offline, while 35% recruited completely online
63% are highly optimistic of their current online recruitment efforts
84% worry over student entry restrictions due to Covid-19
However, in an industry built on face-to-face interactions, old habits die hard. “Agency office appointments, print media, and other traditional methods of working with students still have not made a full exit in the era of limited mobility,” wrote MSM, which surveyed the agents in late 2020
The agent-student dynamic, according to the report, has always involved physical visits and face-to-face counselling to finalise application and registration plans.
MSM recommended ways to address the push-back, including adopting a tech recruitment platform that automates agent tasks and streamlines application processing with a high level of accuracy and security.
In June 2020, MSM surveyed agents at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, finding that a majority of respondents (84.8%) are experiencing a loss of income. The pandemic has posed new and diverse challenges for education agents, including mobility restrictions, hesitation from students and their families, and the cancellation of events and edufairs.