Job Market for MBAs Improving; Pay Premium Remains

Companies Hiring Leaders With Integrated Reasoning Skills in 2012

RESTON, VA--(Marketwire - May 21, 2012) - More new business school graduates are landing jobs to go with their diplomas amid renewed optimism among employers, according to new data from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). Key findings from GMAC's 2012 Global Management Education Graduate Survey and 2012 Corporate Recruiters Survey include:

  • Largest Gains in Small Business: Companies with fewer than 1,000 employees accounted for the largest proportional increase in demand for graduate management hires among the 1,096 global companies surveyed.
  • Students Report More Job Offers: Sixty-two percent of graduating MBAs and other management education graduates surveyed this year reported that they had a job offer, up from 54 percent in 2011.
  • Recruiters are Optimistic: Meanwhile, 79 percent of companies surveyed said that they plan to hire recent MBA graduates this year, compared with 72 percent in 2011.
  • More New Hires per Employer: The average number of planned new hires per employer surveyed increased to 17 in 2012 from 13 last year.

"As companies begin to act on plans to expand, they are hiring talent to help manage strategy and growth to sustain the business for the long term," said Dave Wilson, president and CEO of GMAC. "Particularly noteworthy is the expansion of hiring among smaller companies in our survey, which are key drivers of economic activity. These entrepreneurial firms see real value in the skills that management graduates bring to the workforce."

Employer confidence varies by region, reflecting the unevenness that characterizes the global economy. On average, companies in the Asia-Pacific region and the United States expect continued growth in hiring in 2012 for all management graduates, whereas European companies project that hiring levels in 2012 will be similar to what they saw in 2011.

"These results provide strong evidence on the continued global market recovery, which is also matched with the feedback received from EFMD's business school members," said Eric Cornuel, director general and CEO of EFMD, a key partner in conducting the recruiter survey along with the MBA Career Services Council. "The MBA remains the core degree program of business schools, while master's programs are further gaining in acceptance by employers."

Across the board, leadership skills topped the list of skills employers want in their new management graduate hires. Employers also want new hires that are able to organize and combine information from multiple sources to solve complex problems and make sound judgments. These data analysis and high-level integrated reasoning skills were noted as particularly important to companies looking to hire graduate management students.

"The results provide critical insights for career services professionals into the skills MBAs must possess and the industries which offer the greatest potential for employment," said Nicole Hall, president of the MBA Career Services Council and director of the Career Management Center for the Schools of Business at Wake Forest University.


Employers in the U.S. expect to pay MBA graduates substantially more in 2012 than new hires with only a bachelor's degree. This translates into annual earnings for new MBAs that are $40,000 higher, on average, than the salaries bachelor's degree-holders can expect, according to the Corporate Recruiters Survey.

Among students who had at least one job offer at the time the Global Management Education Graduate Survey was conducted in February and March, full-time two-year MBAs saw the largest gains between pre-MBA and post-MBA salaries (81 percent). This is up eight points from last year.

Jobs Report

The most popular industries in which class of 2012 graduates looked for jobs were products and services, consulting and finance/accounting irrespective of program type. The products and services sector yielded the fewest job offers for this year's graduates, but also saw the highest increase in salary from pre-degree to post-degree earnings (75 percent).

In an industry attractiveness index developed by GMAC, more graduates are switching out of the finance/accounting sector than are switching into it in 2012. Despite graduates' highest success rate in landing a job in the manufacturing sector (76 percent), the manufacturing industry is seeing more graduates leaving the industry than switching into it.

For More Information

The 2012 GMAC Global Management Education Graduate Survey and the Corporate Recruiters Survey are available at

The 2012 GMAC Global Management Education Graduate Survey reflects responses from 5,366 graduating members of the class of 2012 at 136 graduate business schools worldwide. Visit for a report about the survey findings.

The 2012 GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey includes responses from 1,096 employers from more than 800 companies in 40 countries. GMAC partnered with the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) and the MBA Career Services Council (MBA CSC) to increase survey participation. A summary of the survey results is available at

About GMAC and the GMAT exam

The Graduate Management Admission Council ( is a nonprofit education organization of leading graduate business schools and owner of the GMAT® exam, used by more than 5,400 graduate business and management programs worldwide. GMAC is based in Reston, Virginia, and has regional offices in London, New Delhi and Hong Kong. The GMAT exam -- the only standardized test designed expressly for graduate business and management programs worldwide -- is continuously available at nearly 600 test centers in over 110 countries. More information about the GMAT exam is available at