MBA Jobs & Salary Trends in 2014/15: A Snapshot

MBA jobs and salary

At its heart, the MBA is a vocational degree. Therefore, the question of what MBA jobs are out there, and how much one can earn from them will be at the forefront of the nearly every prospective – and current –candidate.

QS conducts an annual survey of actively hiring MBA employers to find out the lay of the land – the results of which are collated in the QS TopMBA.com Jobs & Salary Trends Report . The 2014/15 edition of the report draws on the responses of over 5,669 employers from around the world, and from a diverse range of industries.

The report is available for free, with in-depth MBA jobs and MBA salary levels figures and expert analysis from authors Nunzio Quacquarelli and Susan Gatuguta Gitau.

So what did we find out this year? Here’s a quick summary of some of the key findings in the report.

Growth in MBA jobs, but slower than last year

The number of MBA job opportunities globally has increased this year at a rate which compares favorably to OECD GDP growth, but is slower than the preceding year. However, this might be seen, posit the report’s authors, as a sign of the MBA’s maturity as a qualification, leading to slow gradual annual growth.

Different regions have had differing fortunes over the past year, as one might expect – none more so than the two most mature economically, Western Europe and North America. While the former has stagnated, the latter has finally freed itself from the stasis of the past half decade or so and seen growth in line with what was predicted last year.

In the rest of the world, Asia’s growth in terms of MBA jobs still continues apace – albeit at a slightly less strident level than we’ve seen in previous years, with Central Europe close behind. Growth is slower in Latin America and the Middle East, though the number of opportunities in both has risen considerably in recent years from small bases, so the continuation of this growth can be seen as a positive sign.

Another good year for MBA jobs in consulting and technology

Consulting, the report states, can be seen as something of a bellwether for the general health of MBA jobs. Although this year’s growth figure represents a slight slowdown, growth is still strident in a sector which has more than sextupled in size since 1990.

The financial services industry, on the other hand, is still yet to recover fully – though it continues to grow. The global picture is somewhat more nuanced than this, however, with certain regions enjoying more growth than others.

As was the case last year, the technology sectors have accounted for a good deal of growth, with many tech companies formalizing their MBA recruitment processes, and often topping ideal employer lists. The pharmaceuticals sector – something of a sleeping giant in recent times – has also had a good year.


Some smaller sectors in terms of MBA hiring have also seen growth, with the media & entertainment sector performing better in terms of MBA jobs than any year since the dot-com boom. Manufacturing and fast moving consumer goods have also had a positive year.

Employers aim to fill MBA jobs internationally, but still unhappy with soft skills

One of this year’s most notable trends is the increased purview of employers looking to fill MBA jobs, with a greater proportion extending the search beyond domestic or even regional borders. Europeans are the most internationally-focused. In North America, the proportion of employers looking globally makes up a smaller proportion of the total than last year, but this is due to a sizeable increase in domestic employers in an economy which seems to be regaining in confidence (at this level at least). Two-thirds of employers worldwide place a premium on international study experience.

There has also been an increase in employers looking for MBAs with over five years’ experience, counterbalanced by a drop in demand for those with fewer than three years’ experience.

As in previous years, MBA employers remain dissatisfied with the soft skills of graduates, but are largely satisfied with their technical skills. Business development and marketing have overtaken finance (other), consulting and general management as the most common functions for MBAs.

MBA salary levels on the up in North America and Europe

After some years of relative stagnation, MBA salary levels in Western Europe and North America have both increased – the latter by quite some way. Even more generous MBA salary packages are predicted for next year. Central Europe has also seen improvement. Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East & Africa have all seen slight declines this year.

The highest MBA salary levels on offer are reserved for those in metals & mining, energy and pharmaceuticals.


For more details, including specific MBA salary figures by region, country and industry, download the report for free by following the link below.

Written by Mansoor Iqbal

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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