Overall job opportunities in the US are currently at their lowest in 11 months, with the US Labor Department announcing on Friday that the economy failed to add any new jobs during August. In Europe, the continued threat of numerous eurozone nations defaulting on their debt repayments has many economists now fearing the collapse of the euro currency, which if made a reality could spell a huge decline in future job opportunities around the continent.
In terms of MBA job opportunities though, the future appears to be more promising.
The upcoming QS TopMBA.com Jobs and Salary Trends Report 2011/12 has found that MBA job opportunities throughout the world have increased during the past year, and are set to increase in the next 12 months.
“Despite clouds hanging over Western economies, 2011 represents a stellar year in terms of growth in global demand for MBAs of 36%, well ahead of the long term trend growth rate of 15% per annum,” says Nunzio Quacquarelli, managing director of QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd and author of the QS TopMBA.com Jobs and Salary Trends Report. “MBAs are playing a central role in the battle for global economic supremacy, with economic growth in emerging markets fuelling worldwide demand growth for MBAs.”
Chris Garnett, MBA career management advisor at Manchester Business School in the UK explains that, although any future period of economic decline could negatively affect MBA job opportunities, the employment market for MBAs should remain healthy as a result of demand outstripping supply in European and North American countries.
“There is still a shortage of talent in the developed economies and demographic issues are likely to compound this so top level MBAs will remain sought after, though they may find it takes longer or they have to make compromises,” Garnett explains. “The ‘War for Talent’ has resurfaced again recently which suggests companies are reengaging in the labor market at this level, but the future remains very uncertain.”
The breadth and diversity of skills taught on MBA programs should also ensure that business school graduates and alumni continue to enjoy success in the jobs market, even during times of economic hardship, Dan LeClair, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) vice president and chief knowledge officer explains to TopMBA.com.
“It’s impossible to argue that the economy, especially if it heads in the wrong direction in the near future won’t affect jobs for anyone,” LeClair says. “One of the things about MBA graduates is that it’s easy to put them in a box and say ‘these are the jobs that MBA graduates take’. But the good news for MBA graduates is that they often learn skills and knowledge that cut across industries but also cut across a variety of different opportunities like starting their own business, working in government, working in not-for-profit, so that the breadth of opportunities for MBAs is not restricted to one particular sector.”
Quacquarelli makes the important point that during the last recession, demand for MBAs was barely affected, as instead of cutting back their hiring initiatives, employers and recruiters looked to MBAs to help survive economic difficulties.
“Slow growth in major economies as far apart as the US and Japan, took their toll from 2001-2004 and demand for MBAs fell by around 20%. In this period, on-campus company visits fell significantly and many MBA students had to resort to off-campus job searches and networking among alumni. From 2005-2008 we witnessed resurgence in MBA employer demand for MBAs, far exceeding previous levels. The 2009 recession proved to be relatively benign for MBAs. The upward trend in MBA demand is, if anything, accelerating in 2011.”
It appears that, even if the global economist’s fears do come true, the job market for MBA graduates and alumni is likely to remain strong, both in developed and emerging economies.