What Employers Are Looking for in 2017 Business School Hires

When hiring for mid-level positions, corporate recruiters consider communications skills to be the most important.

Jul 6, 2017

Employment Outlook

Young business school candidates

Successfully pitching a new product idea to your boss or presenting a financial analysis to your company’s management team requires not only business savvy, but also a broad set of communication skills. The findings of GMAC’s 2017 Corporate Recruiters Survey show that communication skills top the list of skills and abilities these employers will look for in hiring business school graduates this year.

In the words of a recruiter from a large U.S. products and services company, “Everyone coming out of business school seems to have the technological familiarity we require. Soft skills—like communications and people skills—tend to make the difference.”

As a part of the survey, employers were asked to identify among five broad skill sets which they consider to be most important when hiring for a mid-level position. Communication skills came out on top, followed in order by teamwork skills, technical skills, leadership skills, and managerial skills.

As a follow-up, employers were asked to rate the proficiency level required for 25 specific skills within the five broad skill set categories for a candidate to be placed in a mid-level position in their company. Of the five top-rated skills, four fall within the communications category: Oral communications, listening skills, written communication, and presentation skills. By employer industry, oral communication was the top-rated skill for consulting, healthcare/pharmaceuticals, technology, products/services, and nonprofit/government. Listening skills was the top-rated skill for the energy/utilities industry.

What employers want

For more on hiring trends, download the 2017 Corporate Recruiters Survey Report at gmac.com/corporaterecruiters.