Demand for MBA Graduates Recovers to Pre-Pandemic Levels in 2021, Research Finds | TopMBA.com

Demand for MBA Graduates Recovers to Pre-Pandemic Levels in 2021, Research Finds

By Linda M

Updated July 6, 2021 Updated July 6, 2021

Here's why 2021 will be a year of recovery for MBA job prospects across sectors and areas of the world.

Demand and compensation for MBA talent will return to pre-pandemic levels in 2021, the newest GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey has found.

Released recently, the research surveyed over 500 employers of MBAs across industries – including technology, finance, accounting and consulting – and continents to evaluate the status of the job market for business school graduates.

Luckily for MBA grads, it appears 2021 will be a definitive year of recovery for their career prospects.

Robust demand for MBA talent

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted MBA hiring across the board, forcing some organisations to freeze the recruitment process entirely and others to cancel internships and graduate programmes.

In 2021, however, it appears recruiters have a newfound hope for the future of the MBA job market. Overall, the survey found that nine in 10 corporate recruiters anticipate that the demand for business school graduates will increase or remain stable in the next five years. Moreover, a higher proportion of recruiters (37 percent) expect the demand for business school graduates to increase generally compared to the previous year (30 percent).

Concrete plans for hiring seem to have significantly improved too. In fact, desire for graduate management talent has now returned to pre-pandemic percentages: 91 percent of recruiters plan to hire MBAs in 2021 – a number comparable to that of the 2019 survey, 92 percent.

This is great news for MBA candidates around the world, as it proves that companies recognise the role that MBA students and grads alike play in the growth of their organisation in the short and long term.

Hiring bounces back across top MBA industries

According to GMAC, hiring has rebounded in all of the major industries that hire MBA talent.

Companies within the technology sector have emerged as the biggest recruiters of business school graduates: 96 percent of surveyed tech firms plan to hire MBAs in 2021 compared with 80 percent in 2019. This could be due to an overall growth in the sector, which has managed to pivot its operations to total digital formats successfully during the pandemic.

Other industries are also showing commitment when it comes to business school hiring. Consulting comes after technology as the biggest recruiter of MBAs at 95 percent, followed by finance and accounting at 83 percent.

Among the top skills recruiters’ value in MBA students, we find interpersonal skills (80 percent); learning, motivation and leadership (75 percent); the ability to manage the decision making process (64 percent); strategic and systems skills (61 percent); and knowledge of general business functions (57 percent) are the most important.

These strong projections for the job market highlight that companies consider business school graduates as essential parts to rebuild their operations after the pandemic. However, MBAs need to ensure they seek every opportunity to develop the right skillset during the degree.

Europe and the US take the lead

Demand for MBA talent appears to be stronger in certain regions of the globe than others.

The research has found that hiring is projected to be the highest in the US (94 percent) and Europe (86 percent), followed by the Asia-Pacific region (73 percent).

Interestingly, when looking at long-term plans, Europe takes the lead as the region with the most MBA-friendly companies. When asked about MBA hiring projections for the next five years, Europe leads at 54 percent followed by the US at 34 percent and the Asia-Pacific at 32 percent.

Salaries bounce back to pre-pandemic figures

Another bit of great news for MBAs is that salary prospects have now gone back to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, the median salary for MBA salaries for 2021 is projected to amount to US$115,000 – the same figure as in early 2020. In the long run, the salary premium should allow an MBA graduate to earn US$3m more than someone with only a bachelor’s degree under their belt.

This is yet another sign that an MBA remains a solid investment to make in your career, whether you’re trying to switch industries or advance in your current role.

This article was originally published in July 2021 .

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Written by

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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