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Nearly 9 in 10 Companies Plan to Hire MBA Graduates in 2017

International hiring plans, especially for graduates of MBA and business master’s programmes, remain steady despite recent political uncertainty, according to the latest 2017 GMAC’s Corporate Recruiters Survey Report, conducted in conjunction with EFMD and MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance (MBA CSEA).

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.

Most US companies (55%) either plan to hire (28%) or are open to hiring (27%) an international candidate in 2017 — up from 49% that had such plans last year. Globally, 86% of companies plan to hire recent MBA graduates this year, up from 79% 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.

Moreover, nearly 3 in 4 responding start-ups (74%) plan to hire MBAs in 2017, up from 52 percent of these companies that hired MBAs last year.

Some additional key findings include:

  • A greater percentage of employers plan to hire business master’s graduates in 2017.

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% plan to hire recent Master in Management graduates, up nine percentage points from last year. Hiring demand for Master of Accounting and Master of Finance and graduates is projected to hold steady in 2017, with 42% of employers and 48% of employers reporting plans to hire them, respectively.

  • More than half of employers (52%) report they will increase starting salaries for new MBA hires in 2017 at or above the inflation rate.

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

  • Communication skills rank highest among the skills employers consider most important.

Four of the top five skills employers seek in new hires include oral and written communication, listening skills, and presentation skills. Teamwork skills such as adaptability, valuing others’ opinions, ability to follow a leader, and cross-cultural sensitivity were among the top 10 most sought-after skills for new graduate business hires.

  • Employers more likely to offer internship opportunities to MBA students.

Sixty-five percent of employers globally and 74% of US employers plan to offer internships to MBA students in 2017. Just 27% of employers globally expect to offer internships to business master’s students this 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 organisations, CEMS and RelishMBA, assisted with recruitment of survey participants.

Findings from the 2017 Corporate Recruiters Survey highlight the hiring intentions of companies and the skills sought from new hires. These findings provide business school graduates with insights into the labor market and provide companies with a tool to benchmark their plans against other organisations and industries.

To download GMAC’s 2017 Corporate Recruiters Survey Report and an overview of the survey methodology, visit: gmac.com/corporaterecruiters or contact Jennifer Garfinkel for press.