ICEF Agent Voice

Key insights from the latest survey of ICEF student recruitment agents from around the world.

Launched in 2020, the ICEF Agent Voice survey delivers detailed feedback from agents, identifying the latest trends, opportunities, challenges, and threats affecting the industry. It follows the renowned ICEF Agent Barometer, which ran for 15 years.

The survey offers unparalleled frequency, reach, and attention to detail – and it provides fresh insight into how agents continue to adapt to the latest global issues and challenges.

Each edition of the ICEF Agent Voice features questions focused on a range of categories, including day-to-day operations, recruitment projections, destination trends, student decision factors, and other key areas.

About the 2023 survey

The 2023 edition of the survey continues our analysis of the challenges currently faced by agents globally, documents the steps towards the recovery of our industry, and provides a forecast for recruitment beyond 2023.

ICEF Agent Voice 2023, sponsored by Flywire and St George’s University, covers six distinct topics:

  1. Recruitment expectations
  2. Student decision-making
  3. Employability
  4. Enrolment challenges
  5. Online programmes
  6. Agency operations

• Appetite for international education remains strong, with significant growth projected in the “big four” destination countries, as well as the UAE, Germany, and the Netherlands

• Factors such as cost of living and accommodation top student decision making, while traditional concerns, such as an institution’s ranking, are now perceived to be far less important

• With universities promoting career opportunities directly, as a sales point, and indirectly, through their study programmes; students and their support network are increasingly focused on employability

• Agents face a range of challenges, from sourcing qualified leads in the first instance, to the support they receive from their partner institutions in terms of training, speed of response, and visa support

• Despite an overall industry trend towards online programmes, agents have reported a slight drop in interest from 2022 to 2023

• Agents overwhelmingly continue to follow traditional recruitment methods, with take up of digital methods and AI remaining slow