MBA Hiring Up in 2014, Says New GMAC Survey

More companies plan to hire MBAs and other business school graduates in 2014, according to a recently published global survey of employers. Some 80% of business school recruiters plan to hire MBAs in 2014, up seven percentage points from last year and 30% points higher than 2009, in the heart of the economic crisis, when just half of employers hired MBAs.

For the 13th annual Corporate Recruiters Survey, the Graduate Management Admission Council polled 565 employers from 44 countries during February and March. GMAC partnered with EFMD and the MBA Career Services and Employer Alliance to conduct the survey, which included 32 of the top 100 companies in the FT 500 and 36 of the Fortune 100.

The optimistic hiring outlook for MBAs and other master’s-level business graduates comes as companies shift focus away from overcoming economic challenges and look toward growth and expansion.

The percentage of companies reporting a focus on overcoming economic challenges dropped from 58% in 2009 to 25% this year, as well as reducing costs, from 66% in 2009 to 45% this year. At the same time, the percentage of employers planning to hire new bachelor’s degree graduates is holding steady, down one percentage point from the 75% that hired bachelor’s graduates in 2012 and 2013.

“More companies in all sectors and across the world plan to hire business school graduates, with projected hiring rates the highest for all degree types since the Great Recession started in 2009,” says Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC CEO and president. “MBAs have always been valued by employers, but this survey shows that as the economy improves, employers see MBAs as a good investment into their future.”

Here are some of the survey’s key findings:

  • Some 83% of employers in Asia-Pacific, 61 percent of European employers, and 86% of US employers plan to hire MBAs this year, all increases from 2013.
  • When considering communication, managerial, teamwork, leadership and technical skills, employers say communication skills are the most important ones they seek in new hires, on average twice as important as managerial skills.
  • Median base salaries employers expect to offer MBAs are $95,000 in the US and $69,000 in Europe. Projected median MBA base salary in Asia-Pacific is $21,340, reflecting much lower per-capita income in the region.

Professor Eric Cornuel, CEO & director general of EFMD, says,”This year’s survey paints a very positive picture for the business education sector and clearly shows how companies and recruiters value the whole portfolio of business degrees. Despite all of the doom and gloom, the clear message from the market is that business schools are providing the talented, bright individuals that companies need.”

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