GLOBAL: Optimism grows for future MBA graduates

The Graduate Management Admission Council, the non-profit graduate business school organisation based in Virginia, US, has released a survey finding that although job markets for new business school graduates remain tough there are signs employers have become more willing to hire, as their confidence in economic recovery grows.

According to the survey the number of European Union employers planning to hire recent MBA graduates has risen since last year. In 2009 only 36% of European employers responding to the GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey said they planned to recruit recent MBA graduates, down from 44% in 2008. This percentage has since returned to 44% for 2010.

"Employers have spoken clearly. The intrinsic value they place on the skills people develop in business school does not rise and fall just because the economy does," says Dave Wilson, President and CEO of GMAC.

The GMAC survey predicts top job opportunities in 2010 for new MBA graduates will be in consulting and healthcare, while worldwide marketing and sales industries will provide the most positions. In the EU, the survey reports employers are most likely to hire recent MBA graduates for careers in business development.

While this optimism is good news for upcoming MBA graduates, a separate GMAC survey indicates employer optimism over hiring may not mean they actually bite the bullet and offer jobs. According to GMAC's latest Graduate Management Education Graduate Survey, in 2010 so far only 40% of full-time two-year MBA students had job offers prior to graduation, a 10% decline since 2009.

However when these graduates do enter the workforce, especially those who choose to work in Europe, they can expect competitive salaries as employers search for talented individuals. According to the survey EU employers plan on offering starting salaries of EUR65,419 (US$80,288) to new MBA graduates.

"Management talent is always critical to the wellbeing of any organisation, and as conditions improve employers will find ways to acquire more of that talent," Wilson says.