Sweet temptation for employers

Projections for 2012 suggest firms aim to hire management graduates, making such degrees more valuable than ever

Europe might be heading for a mild recession and unemployment may be climbing in the UK, but there is some brighter news for business graduates. A survey of employers conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has found that graduates of MBA programmes and other Masters degrees related to business could find their job prospects improve in 2012.

GMAC oversees the graduate management admission test for business school applicants. Every year, it canvasses companies and organisations throughout the world about job prospects and salaries for those with business-related degrees. The most recent study consulted 216 companies and organisations and found a notable increase in those planning to hire recently graduated management students in the coming year.

The headline figures are encouraging: nearly three-quarters of the companies surveyed plan to hire MBAs in 2012, up from 58 per cent in 2011. Nearly four times as many companies are planning to increase the number of MBAs they hire in 2012, while more than half of employers expect to recruit people with a Masters in management or another specialised subject. Overall, there may also be more jobs out there for business school graduates. The survey reveals that companies plan to boost the number of positions available in 2012. The barometer is rising for remuneration too: 32 per cent of companies aim to increase salaries for MBAs joining them, and 65 per cent are planning to keep starting salaries at the same level as 2011.

"These figures bear out the fact that, in recessionary times, you can only cut costs so far," explains Dave Wilson, CEO of GMAC, talking from its headquarters in the USA. "What we are seeing in the marketplace here, and I suspect in Europe also, is that companies have cut as far as the bone and can go no further. As they start to grow and retool, they will need to bring in the best possible talent. That's where the MBA and Masters graduates become particularly attractive in providing exceptional players who can come in hitting the ground running. If you can bring someone in on 3 January who starts being productive immediately, it makes sound economic sense. While much of the world grapples with economic uncertainty, our survey shows there is cautious optimism in the market that we are starting to come out of the economic downturn. When that happens, you have to have players who are going to grow and thrive with that market. If hiring projections for this coming year remain robust, the class of 2012 can look forward to entering a markedly improved job market when they graduate."

Although the majority of the companies responding were based in the USA, Wilson believes the survey still has value for graduates applying for jobs in Europe. "The jobless recovery in the US is starting to happen and companies are looking to grow. It's true that the US is a little more optimistic than Europe, yet many of the American companies surveyed recruit worldwide. I also feel upbeat about the European job scene too."

The view from a major recruiter of graduates in the UK appears to support Wilson's level of optimism. Paul Stephenson, graduate recruitment partner at the accountancy and professional services group Deloitte, explains: "The 2011/12 recruitment season has been a positive one for us and the firm's potential recruits. During the downturn, Deloitte's hiring targets for graduates stayed at approximately the same level and over the past two years have increased to 1,200. We offer careers in 21 offices across the UK and have seen an increase in applications."

When Deloitte's buoyant analysis is seen together with activity it has observed from other employers, Stephenson believes it suggests that the market is on course to "returning to pre-recession levels".

Going for an MBA or any business-related Masters is a big investment in both time and money, particularly when the effects of the global downturn are still being felt. There may be better news for graduates entering this year's job market, but as Wilson points out, anyone who is considering applying for a graduate management degree course should always carry out a thorough economic analysis, including an evaluation of the potential return on the hefty investment it would require.

Hard on the heels of the employers' survey, GMAC has just released the findings of its alumni perspectives survey, which can help those considering applying for business Masters to make a more informed decision. More than 4,000 alumni responded from all over the world and graduates reported that they had recouped one third of the financial investment in their degree within the first year of completing their course, and 100 per cent after four years in the workplace.

European graduates earned the highest starting salaries, with an average of $84,000 (£54,000). Significantly, three out of four alumni of the class of 2011 who are currently in a job report that they could not have obtained that job without having earned their graduate management degree.

The findings of these surveys could be good news for self-funding students, whose numbers appear to be rising. At the University of Bath School of Management, for example, the fees of 45 per cent of participants in the executive MBA are not paid by companies. As Maggi Preddy, MBA admissions manager at Bath, sees it: "Managers today are willing to invest more in developing their own human capital, particularly in areas that pay off immediately, such as improving conflict resolution skills and key management competencies. We see this as an important trend for the executive MBA in particular."

According to Wilson: "One of the advantages of the MBA in general is that it gives you one more credential in your portfolio. It tells a potential employer that this is the kind of person who has made an investment in his or her intellectual capital. In tough times, that investment becomes even more valuable to enable you to distinguish yourself from the competition and increase your street value. These survey results demonstrate that a graduate management degree is, in fact, a solid investment in your future whichever way the economy turns."

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
books
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, Finance, MSc, PhD)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, F...

Year 3 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Teacher Required We are curr...

Year 5 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 5 Primary Teaching positionRands...

Day In a Page

Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference