GMAC Finds Employers Hot for Hiring MBAs

Corporate hiring plans for 2017 point to robust employment opportunities for graduates of MBA and business master’s programs, according to a new employer survey report from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

Globally, 86 percent of companies plan to hire recent MBA graduates this year, up from 79 percent that hired them in 2016. Demand for these MBA graduates is strongest in the United States and Asia-Pacific, where 9 in 10 companies plan to hire these candidates.

“Despite the political uncertainty about the status of immigration and work visas in the United States and other parts of the world, companies are keen to hire graduates from this year’s MBA and business master’s programs, including international candidates,” said Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC president and CEO. “This signifies the value these programs create for students and the vital role their skillsets bring employers.”

MBA hiring projection

At the time GMAC conducted the Corporate Recruiters Survey in early 2017, respondents in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the United States declared their companies are staying the course with plans to hire international graduate business candidates. Overall, 59 percent of the survey respondents plan to hire or are willing to hire MBA and business master’s graduates requiring legal documentation — a gain of seven percentage points from 2016.

Most U.S. companies (55 percent) either plan to hire (28 percent) or are open to hiring (27 percent) an international candidate in 2017 — up from 49 percent that had such plans last year. The technology industry in the U.S. is the most likely to hire international business graduates this year. Half of U.S. tech firms (50 percent) plan to hire such candidates in 2017 — up from 27 percent that planned to hire them last year.

GMAC conducted the 16th annual Corporate Recruiters Survey in February and March 2017 together with survey partners EFMD and MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance (MBA CSEA), in association with 97 participating graduate business schools. Survey findings are based on responses from 959 employers representing more than 628 companies in 51 countries worldwide. Two additional organizations, CEMS and RelishMBA, assisted with recruitment of survey participants.

More Start-Up Companies Plan to Hire B-School Grads This Year

For the first time, this year’s survey report breaks out the responses specifically among start-up companies, revealing a promising 2017 hiring outlook for business school graduates. Three in 4 start-ups plan to hire recent MBA graduates in 2017, up from the 52 percent that hired them in 2016. More start-ups also plan to make 2017 hires from graduates of Master in Management (37 percent), Master of Accounting (23 percent), and Master of Finance (25 percent) programs.

Compensation: MBA Salaries Will Reflect 83 Percent Premium Over Recent Bachelor’s Salaries

Globally, more than half of survey respondents (52 percent) report that MBA base salaries will increase at (34 percent) or above (18 percent) the rate of inflation in 2017. Latin America (74 percent of respondents) and Asia-Pacific (59 percent) have the greatest share of companies that plan to increase MBA salaries either at or above the rate of inflation this year.

A majority of European and U.S. companies (57 percent and 51 percent, respectively) will maintain 2016 salary rates for new MBA hires in 2017. The projected median base starting salary for recent MBA graduates in the U.S. in 2017 is US$110,000, up from a median of US$105,000 in 2016. This represents an 83 percent premium over recent bachelor’s-degree holders in the U.S., who can expect to receive a median starting salary of US$60,000 in 2017.

“Once again, this year’s report brings to light the continued value of the MBA degree to the marketplace,” said Megan Hendricks, executive director of MBA CSEA. “The increased interest in specialty master’s talent provides further indication of the relevance of these programs at our member schools.”

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