Steady Employment Prospects for International Graduates, Strong Hiring Market in 2017

International hiring plans of employers remain steady despite recent political uncertainty.

Jun 20, 2017

New GMAC Research

Prospective business school students

Despite ongoing political uncertainty about the status of immigration and work visa policies in the United States and other parts of the world, findings from the 2017 GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey show that companies worldwide are forging ahead with their plans to hire international MBA and business master’s graduates who require legal documentation such as work permits and H1-B visas.

A majority of survey respondents from companies in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the United States reported at the time the survey was administered in early 2017 that they will stay on course with their plans to hire international graduate business students. In 2017, 59 percent of companies globally either plan to hire (27%) or are open to hiring (32%) international MBA or business master’s candidates, up from 52 percent of companies that had such plans last year.

Overall Job Market for Business Grads Is Strong in 2017

The international job prospects for recent business graduates are bolstered by overall hiring projections this year that point to robust employment opportunities for MBA and business master’s graduates. Corporate Recruiters Survey findings show that 86 percent of companies plan to hire MBA graduates in 2017, up from 79 percent that hired them last year, with the strongest demand in the United States and Asia-Pacific, where 9 in 10 companies plan to hire these candidates. Overall, a greater share of companies this year also plan to hire business master’s graduates, including 59 percent of employers seeking to hire Master in Management graduates, 42 percent who intend to hire Master of Accounting graduates and 48 percent who aim to hire recent Master of Finance graduates.

International Hiring Plans Reveal Positive Shifts in Some Regions and Industries

The steady nature of international employment prospects this year should be reassuring to the many graduate business candidates across the globe who plan to apply to, or are already attending, programs outside their country of citizenship. For internationally minded graduate business students, a large part of the draw to studying abroad is not only the chance to attend schools that have strong educational reputations, such as those in the United States and the United Kingdom, but also the prospect of launching an international career and developing an international network.

Most US companies (55%) either plan to hire international candidates (28%) or are willing to hire them (27%) in 2017, compared with 49 percent of companies that had such plans last year. The technology industry in the United States is the most likely to hire international graduate business students this year—half of US tech firms (50%) have plans to hire these recent graduates in 2017—up from 27 percent that planned to hire them last year.

International hiring

In the United States, about a third of consulting firms (34%) and health care companies (31%) also intend to hire international candidates in 2017, compared with 33 percent and 11 percent, respectively, that planned to do so in 2016.

International hiring prospects for recent MBA and business master’s graduates are strong across other world regions, notably Latin America, where 73 percent of employers have plans to hire (30%) or will consider hiring (43%) international business graduates. Two-thirds of recruiters in Asia-Pacific (66%) and Europe (64%) have similar plans. 

These and other findings from the 2017 Corporate Recruiters Survey are based on responses provided by 959 employers who represent more than 628 companies in 51 countries worldwide. GMAC conducted the survey in February and March 2017 in partnership with EFMD and MBA CSEA and 97 participating business schools, as well as two additional organizations, CEMS and RelishMBA.

For detailed findings about intended job functions, job placement, and compensation for recent business graduates, employer recruitment strategies and more, download the full report at