Nearly nine in ten companies plan to hire MBA graduates in 2017

International hiring plans remain steady despite recent political uncertainty, as most companies plan to hire MBA graduates in 2017.

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 per cent of companies plan to hire recent MBA graduates this year, up from 79 per cent that hired them in 2016. Demand for these MBA graduates is strongest in the United States and Asia-Pacific, where nine in ten 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,’ says Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC president and CEO.

‘This signifies the value these programs create for students and the vital role their skillsets bring employers.’

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 per cent 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 (55 per cent) either plan to hire (28 per cent) or are open to hiring (27 per cent) an international candidate in 2017 – up from 49 per cent 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 tech firms (50 per cent) plan to hire such candidates in 2017 – up from 27 per cent 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.

Additional Key Findings

Hiring Demand Also Bright for Business Master’s Graduates

As the outlook for MBA hiring continues to look bright, so do projected hiring trends for 2017 business master’s graduates, especially those with Master in Management and Master of Accounting degrees.

The largest increase in hiring demand compared with 2016 is seen in the share of companies that plan to hire Master in Management graduates; globally, 59 per cent plan to hire recent Master in Management graduates, up nine percentage points from last year.

Notably, 70 per cent of manufacturing companies plan to hire Master in Management graduates in 2017, up from 50 per cent of companies that hired them in 2016.

Data analytics expertise continues to be in high demand. Sixty-nine per cent of employers plan to place recent graduate business school hires into data analytics roles in 2017, just trailing marketing, business development, and finance roles – each with 71 per cent.

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 four start-ups plan to hire recent MBA graduates in 2017, up from the 52 per cent that hired them in 2016. More start-ups also plan to make 2017 hires from graduates of Master in Management (37 per cent), Master of Accounting (23 per cent), and Master of Finance (25 per cent) programs.

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

Globally, more than half of survey respondents (52 per cent) report that MBA base salaries will increase at (34 per cent) or above (18 per cent) the rate of inflation in 2017. Latin America (74 per cent of respondents) and Asia-Pacific (59 per cent) 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 per cent and 51 per cent, 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 (£86,648), up from a median of US$105,000 (£82,709) 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 (£47,262) in 2017.

‘Once again, this year’s report brings to light the continued value of the MBA degree to the marketplace,’ says 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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