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Monday, May 19, 2014 at 1am

MBA Jobs Increase, But Salaries Stay Flat Finds GMAC Survey: MBA News

MBA Jobs Increase, But Salaries Stay Flat Finds GMAC Survey: MBA News   main image

The latest edition of the Corporate Recruiters Survey, carried out annually by GMAC (the Graduate Management Admissions Council, the body responsible for administering the GMAT admissions test) has revealed mixed findings for those with a stake in graduate-level business courses.

In terms of MBA jobs, the outlook is positive – with 80% of respondents to the survey expressing an intention to hire MBA talent over the course of the year, up from the 73% which did so in 2013. Other graduate-level business courses also saw an increase. The 80% figure is notably equal to the percentage of employers who are looking to hire experienced professionals from within their industry, and is in excess of any other type of degree course, according to GMAC.  

Improving global economy creates positive context

The seemingly recovering global economy has created an increasingly positive context, with the proportion of responding employers stating that overcoming economic challenges was their primary goal falling to 25% from 31% last year and from a high of 58% in 2009. Similarly, reducing costs is now a priority for 45% of employers, as compared with 49% last year and 66% in 2009.

Improving performance and productivity, and expansion of the customer base are now top of the list of priorities – needless to say, this creates a context in which talent is at a premium. And where better to look, leading business schools may well ask, than in the cohorts of advanced business courses?

Demand for MBA talent is highest in the US, with Asia Pacific not too far behind. In Europe, however, the MBA jobs outlook is not quite as strong, with only 61% of companies stating they intended to hire MBAs.

In most industries, bar accounting and IT/MIS, in which entry-level roles predominate, graduates of advanced business courses will move into mid-level roles. Consulting is the industry in which there is the greatest proportion of MBA jobs at senior or executive level.

MBA jobs on the up, but is compensation?

Compensation for MBA jobs looks to remain largely stagnant, the GMAC survey reveals, in contrast to the positive spin applied to predictions made towards the end of 2013. Europe, in particular, still seems to be feeling the effects of the turbulent global economy of the past seven years. 64% of European employers will be offering the same level of compensation as last year and 2% will even be offering reduced packages.

The outlook is better in the US, where 45% of employers will be increasing offers in line with inflation or better. In the Asia Pacific region the equivalent figure is 62%, albeit with a median base salary of US$21,340 in comparison with Europe’s figure of US$69,000 and the US’s figure of US$95,000. The 25-75th percentile range is widest in Europe, staring at US$41,000 and rising to US$104,000.

Those chasing high US salaries may wish to note that 53% of US employers will not be hiring those who require a visa. Employers based in Asia Pacific and Europe are more internationally open, however, with only 33% and 31% of employers respectively not open to visa-dependent graduates of business courses. In a revelation that is unlikely to surprise, the larger a company is, the more likely it is to be looking internationally for talent.

GMAC survey: What skills do graduates of business courses need?

The top three factors taken into consideration by employers when choosing from which schools they will be hiring graduates of business courses are the quality of the students, the reputation of the school and their satisfaction with past hires. Communication skills were deemed to be the most important quality in applicants to MBA jobs, just ahead of technical skills. The jury is, however, still out on to what extent graduates of advanced business courses possess the desired soft skills.

The GMAC survey, produced in partnership with the European Foundation for Management Development, the MBA Career and Employer Alliance and 133 business schools, called on the responses of 565 employers from around the world. These include 32 of the top 100 companies in the FT 500 as well as 36 members of the Fortune 100.

The full report also breaks down the available MBA jobs by industry and function.

QS carries out similar employer research, calling on the responses of over 4,300 employers. The latest edition is available for free by following the link below.

Mansoor is a contributor to and former editor of TopMBA.com. He is a higher and business education specialist, who has been published in media outlets around the world. He studied English literature at BA and MA level and has a background in consumer journalism.

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