Employer Demand for MBAs High in 2014

May 29, 2014
Tags: Business School, Career

An upbeat hiring forecast this year, propelled by companies with an eye toward expansion and growth, means the market for business school talent is also on the upswing! Those of you who have completed your degrees and joined the ranks of job seekers will be assured to know that employers are seeking you out—80% of business school recruiters plan to hire MBAs in 2014, up seven percentage points from last year and a big 30% jump since 2009, in the heart of the Great Recession.

Our recent worldwide survey of corporate recruiters shows projected hiring rates for all recent b-school grads—MBAs as well as those earning master’s degrees in management, accounting, finance, and other specialized business fields—are the highest they’ve been in five years. These optimistic hiring projections coincides with an improved business climate, with fewer businesses facing economic challenges and more focused on improved productivity, performance, and new product launches. Companies focused on growth and expansion are more likely to have improved hiring plans.

Jobs Forecast

Here is how employer hiring projections for 2014 shape up for recent business school graduates, by program type:

  • Four out of five (80%) companies plan to hire an MBA graduate in 2014, up from 73% last year and 50% in 2009.
  • Half (50%) of the employers surveyed in 2014 plan to hire graduates from Master in Management programs (up from 45% in 2013 and 18% in 2009).
  • 45% of companies plan to hire Master of Accounting graduates (up from 36% in 2013 and 17% in 2009).
  • Forty-four percent of employers plan to hire Master of Finance graduates (up from 39% last year).
  • 51% of employers will hire graduates of other specialized business master’s programs, up from 47% last year and 37% in 2009.

Companies See Business Talent as Smart Investment

When asked their reasons for hiring business school graduates, employers say that these candidates bring “the ability to think outside the box,” “have the leadership potential needed,” and provide a strategic focus, acumen, and proven ability to perform.”

Expected starting salaries for new MBAs hires reflect the premium that employers place on these degree holders compared with bachelor’s-level job candidates. For example, the median base starting salary US employers expect to offer MBAs this year is US$95,000, as compared with US$50,000 for US bachelor’s graduates, representing a $45,000 premium. A similar earnings premium for MBAs vs. bachelor new hires is seen among employers in Western Europe. In addition, among firms in Asia-Pacific the value companies put on the graduate business degree credential for MBAs is demonstrated by their expectations to pay MBAs a median base salary of US$21,340, nearly the same as that offered to direct-industry hires.

Employer Demand from MBAs High in 2014

Jobs Are Not a Foregone Conclusion

To stand out in a competitive job market, it’s important to demonstrate to a hiring manager that you bring the requisite work experience, skills, and expertise that your graduate degree represents. The two most important factors employers cite when selecting candidates to interview are proven ability to perform (61%) and technical or quant skills (54%). Employers also regard past work experience to be one of the strongest indicators of future employment success. Of those we surveyed in 2014, employers expect new MBA hires to have a median of four years of prior work experience, double the number of prior years’ experience they expect from non-MBA business grads from accounting, management, or finance programs, for example.

Seek Out Internships

If you are still completing your studies, an internship is a direct route to acquiring real-world experience—you not only will gain on-the-job experience, but will be exposed to contacts that could help you land a future job.

  • Four out of 5 employers this year expect to recruit for permanent positions from among their past and current interns.
  • Of the companies that employed MBA students as interns last year, 76% hired one or more interns for full-time positions. Likewise, of the employers who reported employing non-MBA business school students as interns in 2013, 68% later hired one or more full-time.

Take steps now to visit your academic advisor or career services office and find out more about available internship openings. Hear more about what b-school students and recent b-school alumni have to say about their internship experiences.

Note:The Corporate Recruiters Survey is conducted by GMAC in conjunction with the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) and MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance (MBA CSEA).