Thursday, 26 January 2012

Business degrees set to become more valuable in 2012

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.

Every year the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) 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. 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."
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