Company Expansion Goals Drive Demand for MBA Talent in 2017

The results of the 2016 Year-End Poll of Employers highlight employers’ growth targets for the year ahead.

Feb 9, 2017

Employment Outlook

Organizational goals

Similar to recent years, ‘improving performance and productivity’ was the company goal most frequently cited in the 2016 Year-End Poll of Employers, a survey of 167 recruiters from more than 140 companies worldwide. The emphasis on improved performance and productivity is even more pronounced overall for 2017 with 14 percent more companies than last year citing it as their main corporate objective, reflecting industry’s overarching goal to operate more efficiently and improve output.

Compared with 2016, a growing number of employers overall also will be focused on growth-oriented goals in 2017, including ‘expanding their customer base’ (57% of employers) and ‘launching new products and services’ (48%). In addition, 2017 will see an increased share of companies conducting corporate branding initiatives (26%), diversifying their organization (25%), and expanding geographically (25%) in comparison with 2016.

Organizational goals

The coming year, however, will also see more companies focused on the bottom line, with 48 percent overall expecting to reduce costs—a 10 percentage point increase over last year’s findings. Overcoming economic challenges is still an issue for 27 percent of employers overall, slightly higher than the 22 percent of companies that reported this as a top objective in 2016. 

Beyond their specific organizational goals, survey respondents were also asked to characterize their company’s overall direction. The majority of companies said they will be ‘expanding/growing’ in 2017 (56%), while about a quarter plan to ‘maintain their current position’ (27%), and 16 percent will be ‘overcoming challenges’. A greater share of companies that are ‘expanding/growing’ in 2017 plan to hire MBAs (80%) than those that are ‘overcoming challenges’ (74%), whereas a greater share of companies that are ‘overcoming challenges’ plan to make non-MBA business master’s hires (60%) than those that are ‘expanding/growing’ (51%).

For more on 2017 hiring and salary projections, as well as analysis of employer organizational goals, download the 2016 Year-End Poll of Employers.