MBA Jobs: MBA Hiring Surges 30% Since Financial Crisis

MBA job prospects look bright for 2014. New data shows that MBA hiring has climbed 30% since the financial crisis - and is up 7% from last year.

What financial crisis?

Leading MBA employers plan to hire more MBA graduates this year, according to a new recruiter survey from the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC).

In a further sign of a return to economic prosperity, 80% of business school recruiters plan to hire MBAs this year, according to GMAC. The new data shows a seven percent increase from 2013, and a 30% increase in hiring since the height of the financial crisis in 2009. That year just 50% of employers hired MBAs.

The surge is from all industries in all countries, according to Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC’s CEO and president, with “projected hiring rates the highest for all degree types since the Great Recession started in 2009”.

He added: “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.”

Hiring is strongest in the United States and the Asia-Pacific region, where 86% and 83% of employers plan to hire MBAs in 2014 respectively, according to the survey. About 60% of European employers plan to hire MBA graduates.

US recruiters plan to pay MBAs the most – $95,000 on average, says GMAC, while European companies expect to offer MBAs $69,000 starting salaries. Projected median MBA salary in the Asia-Pacific region is around $20,000, reflecting much lower per-capita income in the area.

Half of the employers surveyed also plan to hire master in management graduates, up from 45% last year and 18% in 2009.

Mark Peterson, president of the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance, said that the organization is “pleased to see that… salary gains are being realized for MBAs in regions such as Asia-Pacific, and that industries such as consulting have been increasing recruitment since last year”.

“These are all positive signs for MBA graduates and talent in the pipeline,” he added.

However, US employers are less likely to recruit overseas graduates who require a visa to work in the country. More than 50% of US respondents said they will not hire candidates that require a visa.

Despite concerns that MBAs may not obtain work visas easily in some European countries, the figure was much lower in Europe – about 30%. Some 33% of Asian recruiters said they will not hire MBAs who require a work visa.

The 13th annual Corporate Recruiters Survey polled 565 employers from 44 countries, including 32 of the top 100 companies in the FT 500 and 36 of the Fortune 100.

The biggest hiring drives will be witnessed in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, according to GMAC. A staggering 90% of healthcare and pharma companies plan to hire MBAs, says the survey, while 87% of manufacturing companies plan to hire b-school graduates.

Elsewhere, consulting and finance remain strong on 84% and 82% respectively, despite concerns about a lack of European MBA’s interests in investment banking.

The top functional areas where MBAs are in demand are sales and marketing (65% of employers), finance (61%) and operations and logistics (52%), according to GMAC.

Out of communication, managerial, teamwork, leadership and technical skills, employers say communication skills are the most important for new MBA hires – on average twice as important as managerial skills.

Recruiters are also relatively uninterested in the diversity of MBA classes and admissions standards when selecting business schools to recruit from. Quality of students and the schools’ reputations are the most important factors, says the survey.

Meanwhile, fewer companies are focused on overcoming economic challenges. Companies focused on growth and expansion are more likely to have improved hiring plans.

The upbeat forecast echoes a decline in companies reporting a focus on overcoming economic challenges, from 58% in 2009 to 25% this year, as well as reducing costs, from 66% in 2009 to 45% in 2014.

For the 2014 Corporate Recruiters Survey report, go to www.gmac.com/corporaterecruiters.

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