Graduate Management News
Data & Trends

Graduating Students and Employers Upbeat About a Job Market Turnaround

An improving economy hasn’t yet translated into major recovery in the job market for those getting graduate business degrees, but two surveys conducted from mid-February to mid-March by the Graduate Management Admission Council show cautious optimism among both graduating students and employers.

Although they were less likely to have a job offer than last year’s graduates, class of 2010 students surveyed for the Global Management Education Graduate Survey were significantly more optimistic about the economy in general. And after a tough 2009, employers queried in the Corporate Recruiters Survey also expected the 2010 job outlook to be better for all types of candidates. Respondents of both surveys expected salaries to be similar to 2009’s.

The 2010 Corporate Recruiters Survey, conducted in partnership with the European Foundation for Management Development and the MBA Career Services Council, received 2,367 responses representing 1,960 companies in 57 countries worldwide, including 129 of the global Fortune 500 companies. US respondents represent firms in 43 states and the District of Columbia, including 171 of the US Fortune 500 companies.

Source: 2010 Corporate Recruiters Survey

Key Findings:

  • The 2010 job outlook is expected to improve across the board from 2009. Based on the number of companies hiring, the job market improvement will be especially noticeable for recent specialized master’s in business graduates, with 7 percent more companies hiring, and MBA graduates.
  • Although 2009 was a difficult year for recent MBA graduates with 9 percent fewer companies hiring and 23 percent fewer vacancies available than in 2008, a stronger demand for new MBAs is expected in 2010. Fifty-five percent of companies plan to hire, 5 percent more than last year, and they expect to hire an average of eight MBAs.
  • Demand for MBA graduates is expected to be the strongest in health care and pharmaceutical (64 percent) and consulting (62 percent) sectors. Demand for graduates with Masters in Management degrees was expected to be the highest in the consulting (27 percent), energy and utilities (27 percent), and health care and pharmaceutical (26 percent) sectors. Graduates with specialized master’s in business degrees appear to  have more opportunities in finance and accounting (52 percent).
  • Base salary expectations vary tremendously by country, job sector, and prior work experience, but the average pay gap between new MBAs and other types of hires is expected to hold steady, with the average 2010 MBA grad predicted to start at a salary nearly double that of the average bachelor’s degree recipient. The average expected starting annual salary for recent MBA graduate hires in the US is US$89,141.

The 2010 Global Management Education Graduate Survey drew responses from 5,274 students from 147 business schools in 28 countries.

Key Findings:

  • Although only 33 percent had job offers at the time of the survey, down 23 percent from last year, class of 2010 MBA graduates were significantly more optimistic about the economy in general. One out of three MBA graduates believes the economy is stable or strong, up from one in 10 of the 2009 MBA grads surveyed last year.
  • The finance/accounting, products/services, and consulting fields continue to be the most sought-after industries among graduate business school students, although those pursuing careers in the manufacturing, energy/utilities, and health care industries were the most likely to have job offers. Unlike 2009, those seeking positions in finance or accounting had greater success than those seeking jobs in technology or consulting.
  • Participation in almost any extracurricular activity appeared to improve a graduate’s chances of having a job offer at the time of the survey. Internships and leadership programs had the greatest impact on job search success.
  • Members of the class of 2010 who had a job offer were looking at a 57 percent increase in their pre-MBA salaries, similar to those of the class of 2009. In fact, graduates from part-time and executive MBA programs with job offers received greater increases compared with last year’s graduates.
  • Whether or not they had jobs or job offers, graduating students gave high marks to their business programs’ ability to prepare them for employment. More than three-quarters of the students still seeking employment agreed their education prepared them adequately.

These studies are facilitated by graduate business schools, which receive comprehensive statistics and customized benchmarking reports. To register for these and other surveys go to

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