2017 will be a bumper year for freshly-minted business school graduates, with MBA job offers and salaries expected to rise.
Nearly 8 in 10 (79%) employers expect to hire MBAs in 2017, compared with 68% of these same companies that hired MBAs in 2016.
And 58% of them plan to bump up MBAs’ starting annual base salaries either at or above the rate of inflation, about 1.7%.
That’s according to the annual year-end poll of employers by the Graduate Management Admissions Council, owner of the b-school entrance exam GMAT.
GMAC surveyed 167 recruiters from more than 140 companies of varying sizes and sectors, mostly in the US. These include 36 members of the Fortune 500 and the “big four” consulting groups.
Nearly all employers agree that b-school hires create value for their companies (96%) and that recruiting such graduates is a priority in their company’s hiring plans (71%).
But given the higher salaries that MBA graduates seek, employers expect a greater command of skills from job seekers.
“The market is increasingly competitive and these graduates needed to distinguish themselves beyond simply graduating,” said a recruiter at a large US manufacturing company.
Several employers voluntarily commented that their 2017 hiring plans may depend upon the policy decisions of US president-elect Donald Trump, who corporations fear may tighten up immigration controls, which will affect their ability to hire non-US grads.
Damian Zikakis, careers chief at the Ross School of Business, said there is a decrease in US companies wanting to sponsor internationals for work visas.
Meanwhile, hiring projections for masters in management candidates are looking up, with 31% of employers overall expected to offer jobs to these candidates, up from 19% in 2016. More business schools have begun rolling out the 12-month degrees, which are aimed at undergraduate students with little to no work experience. However, US companies have yet to warm to the degree in great numbers, GMAC reported.