Mixed Outlook for MBA Hires for the Year

A lot of people study towards an MBA because the believe it will further their career tremendously. However, the reality is that there is a mixed picture when it comes to hiring MBA graduates for the year, and this is mainly due to the fact that there seem to be significant fluctuations in terms of demand, with each year being different from the preceding. Three pieces of research were completed in 2012, 2015, and 2016. The differences between the three are notable.

The 2012 Results

In 2012, it was demonstrated that there was significant interest in MBA degree holders. However, the study also showed that the outlook would be more dependent on geographical location in 2013. In fact, the researched looked at 42 countries the world over and showed that:

• There was a 16% rise in demand for MBA degree holders in India in 2012, with a predicted 29% growth in 2013.
• There was a 20% rise in demand in China in 2012, and a predicted 35% growth in 2013.
• There was only a 2% growth in demand in this country.
• There was a 16% rise in demand in Germany in 2012, but a predicted 1% growth in 2013.

The data also showed that:

• 35% of employers looked for candidates with three years of experience or more in 2009, which stood at 39% in 2012.
• 20% of employers in 2012 looked for candidates with as much as eight years of experience, up from 12% at the last count in 2009.
• Starting salaries for those in the Asia Pacific region grew by 20% in 2012.
• Starting salaries in the Middle East and Africa grew by 19% in 2012.
• Starting salaries in Eastern Europe dropped by 7% in 2012.
• The average starting salary in this country was $108,000 in 2012, a 2% decline since 2011.

The 2015 Results

In 2015, study results showed that there was a marked increase in demand for MBA graduates because more companies are looking for them, and each company seems to want more graduates as well. The study surveyed 935 companies across 50 countries. This demonstrated that:

• 75% of companies looked for MBA graduates in 2015, up from 71% in 2012.
• Companies that are recruiting looked for an average of 15 new MBA graduates in 2015, up from 11 in 2014.
• 60% of those who graduated in 2015 had been offered at least one job by March, down from 62% in 2014, but up from 43% in 2009.
• 54% of graduates looked for jobs in the financial sector, down from 61% in 2014.

The 2016 Results

Because there were mixed results since 2009, with studies in both 2012 and 2015 not being able to draw full conclusions, the 2016 study went more in depth.

They found in terms of key traits of importance that:

• “Fitting in with company culture” is the number one trait that recruiters in products and services, healthcare/pharmaceuticals, finance/accounting, and consulting look for.
• “Ability to make an impact” is the number one trait that recruiters in the nonprofit/government, manufacturing, and technology industry look for.
• “Ability to work as part of a team” and “leadership potential” were two key traits needed across all industries.
• There was a significant decrease in recruiters looking for “ability to work independently”, “ability to build external networks”, and “executive presence”.

In terms of international hiring, 24% of companies stated they planned to hire international students, and 28% said they would consider hiring international students, overall. Specifically:

• 33% of consulting companies state that they were planning to hire international MBA graduates.
• 27% of tech firms said they were planning to hire international MBA graduates.
• 26% of finance firms said they were planning to hire international MBA graduates.
• 25% of all firms had specific plans to attract international candidates. This percentage is much higher than in Europe or in the Asia-Pacific.
• 51% of companies in this country said they had no plans to hire international graduates.
• 30% of those wanting to hire MBA graduates aim to place them in various regions across the world.

The research also looked at where employers were trying to find talent. They found that:

• 89% of employees in this country intend to visit an on-campus recruitment fair. This was 88% in 2015.
• Companies in Latin America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific aim to increase the number of on campus job fairs they attend.
• 82% of corporate recruiters across the world aim to complete off campus recruitment activities, including the use of social media. This stood at 77% in 2015.
• 54% of corporate employers now use social media as part of recruitment. This is particularly popular in Europe, where it stands at 79%. In the Asia-Pacific region, it stands at 72%, Latin America at 60%, and this country at 48%.
• The most popular social network platform for recruitment was LinkedIn.

The survey then looked into specialized masters program. This was where the greatest differences between geographical locations were found. The study showed that:

• More companies are looking for master of finance and master of management graduates in the Latin America and Asia-Pacific region.
• Those in the Latin America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific regions look for more master of accounting graduates.
• Companies in this country look for all three degrees.
• Specifically for non-MBA related degrees, 24% of companies look for those with a marketing master, 26% for those with a data analytics master, and 27% for a supply chain management master.
• The greatest demand is for master’s in IT/systems program.
• In the technology sector, 43% of companies look for master’s with data analytics.
• In the products and services, technology, and manufacturing industry, master’s in supply chain management was in particular demand.

Finally, the data looked at the average earnings of MBA graduates. It was found that:

• Men had salaries between $51,940, and $123,880.
• Women had salaries between $42,978 and $99,970.
• The highest paid MBA graduates were found in California, where the average salary was $100,474.


After numerous studies, the conclusion remains the same: the outlook is mixed when it comes to MBA graduates. There are too many factors to consider to make an accurate prediction, including concentration area, where in the world they want to work, their gender, their years of experience, and so on. However, at its heart lies the fact that obtaining an MBA degree will always advance your career. The question is whether that is sufficient to give you a return on investment in the long run. See 9+ Top Online MBA Degrees for 2017.


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