Partner Sites

Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice
mobile search icon

MBA Starting Salaries Continue To Rise Despite Widespread Inflation

While businesses across the globe are affected by inflation, starting salaries for MBA graduates in the US continue to grow

Tue Jul 18 2023

While inflationary pressure is impacting much of the global economy, salaries for US-based MBA graduates are still expected to rise in 2023, according to a new employer survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). 

The Corporate Recruiter Survey, which quizzed 1,028 corporate recruiters across 34 countries, found employers expected most business school grads to see a decrease in their starting salaries compared with 2022 projections, with US MBAs the only exception. 

Those taking part in the survey—which included 55% of Global Fortune 500 recruiters—projected median starting salaries for US MBAs would increase from $115,000 in 2022 to $125,000 this year. 

By contrast, median salaries were expected to fall from $105,000 in 2022 to $85,000 for US graduates of masters degrees in finance, management, and business analytics. 

Master of Accounting graduates could also expect a decrease from $95,000 to $75,000, while median Master of Data Analytics salaries were slated to drop from $115,000 to $85,000, the survey found. 

Employers taking part in the survey were asked to estimate the average base starting salaries they would offer to new hires from each degree type in 2023, with averages taken across all responses. 

The survey also quizzed employers on the benefits they planned to offer to new hires in 2023. It revealed more recruiters planned to hand out signing bonuses, however offers of professional development, education assistance, and student loan assistance were expected to decrease. 

This was likely in response to economic uncertainty, as employers planned to scale back long-term benefits while maintaining the use of one-time bonuses to stay competitive in the job market. 

Recruiters were asked how inflationary pressure influenced their salary decisions in 2023. Around a third of US recruiters reported it had a major or moderate influence, and just over 50% said it was somewhat or minorly influential. 

Other regions felt greater influence of inflation, with recruiters in Western Europe, Latin America, Central and South Asia, and Africa all reporting a higher major or moderate influence. 

When taking inflation into account, a $115,000 salary in February 2022 was equivalent to around $122,000 in February 2023, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Consumer Price Index Inflation calculator, meaning US-based MBAs would see a real as well as nominal increase in their compensation. 

Despite starting salaries falling for many b-school grads in the short term, the survey highlighted the continuing long-term value of business school as respondents said graduates with a business degree had a career advantage over non-graduate degree educated employees.