The Impact of COVID-19 on the Hiring of Business School Graduates: Corporate Recruiters Survey 2020

September 2020


What is the impact of COVID-19 on skill demand, hiring projections, and salary trends for MBA and business master’s graduates? GMAC’s annual survey of corporate recruiters gauges trends and insights related to skill demand, hiring projections, and salary trends of graduate management talent. The survey received 712 responses from corporate recruiters in Wave I (February 17-March 17, 2020) and 232 responses in Wave II (June 17-July 17, 2020).

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Quick Facts

  • In Wave II, the proportion of recruiters reporting plans to hire MBAs in 2021 (89%) is at a similar level as Wave I (92%). Before COVID-19, 92 percent of firms expressed intent to hire MBA graduates in 2020, a figure that dipped to 77 percent in Wave II. However, when asked about hiring plans for 2021, 89 percent of employers said they plan to hire MBA graduates.  
  • The top three reasons recruiters report about confidence in b-school’s ability to prepare graduates to be successful in their organization were strategic thinking, communication skills, and. versatility.
  • At $115,000, the median salary of MBAs is 75 percent more than those with a bachelor’s degree in Wave I, which slightly decreased to $105,000 in Wave II. The compensation premium is more apparent for Fortune 100 companies or the big-three industries that hire the most MBAs—consulting, finance, and technology. For example, at $145,000, the median salary of MBAs in the consulting industry is twice that of bachelor’s degree holders in Wave I.
  • MBA and business master’s graduates are not immune to the scale and scope of the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. However, findings from the 2020 Corporate Recruiters Survey suggests that employers remain confident about the value of graduate management talent in their organizations