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2015 MBA Hiring Expected to Grow

2014_YearEndPoll_v3 (1)

Wondering about MBA job prospects for the coming year? It looks like the already robust job market will get even better in 2015 for those with a graduate degree in business.

According to a new employer survey of business school graduates, 72 percent of surveyed employers expect to hire MBAs in 2015. And nine in ten employers intend to hire B-school graduates overall. That was the major finding by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) in their new Year-End Poll of Employers (January 7). The survey, with 169 responding employers from 33 countries, was conducted in late 2014. It provides an early snapshot of the 2015 job market for MBAs and master’s graduates in areas like accounting, finance, and management.


Business graduates, as a whole, can also expect higher base salaries over the previous year. According to the poll, no employers planned to decrease MBA compensation compared to 2014. Instead, 47 percent projected an increase in salaries at the same rate as inflation. Another 18 percent anticipated MBA pay would be above the inflation rate. The remaining 35 percent reported that MBA wages would remain flat (see table below).

That compares favorably against other business master’s degree. Here, seven to 15 percent of employers pegged earnings to increase above the inflation rate. However, employers predicting wage growth consistent with inflation was actually higher for master’s of accounting and finance. They stood at 67 and 55 percent respectively (compared to the MBA’s 47 percent rate among employers).

MBA wage growth also trails behind other segments. For example, experienced hires and non-business master’s degree holders perform better in earnings above the inflation rate. Here, 21 to 22 percent of employers expected to increase offers above inflation, four points higher than MBAs.

Overall, when it comes to employers delivering starting wages at or above the rate of inflation, MBAs (65 percent) actually trail students with Master of Accounting (74 percent) and the Master of Finance (69 percent) degrees. And this 65 percent figure is the same for experienced hires who may or may not possess an MBA (or other graduate business degree).

According to one poll respondent from the tech sector, an MBA no longer entitles graduates to command big paychecks and signing bonuses. “MBA graduates need to have a lot of experience in order to continue to have high salaries.”


MBA hiring, which is expected to nudge up three points over 2014, isn’t the only positive sign in postgraduate business education. The Master in Management, once considered an “MBA-Lite” degree, is also becoming increasingly attractive to employers. In 2015, 41 percent of employers stated that they planned to hire MIM degree holders, an 11 percent increase over the previous year.

Similarly, the master in finance and accounting degrees also inched up four to five percentage points over the previous year’s poll. These numbers, coupled with a higher percentage of employers writing above average paychecks to master’s degree holders, give further credence to the sentiment that business masters degrees – more targeted and less costly one year degree programs – will become an increasingly attractive to the MBA among professionals.

Expected Change In Average Base Salaries By Degree

Source: GMAC Year-End Poll of Employers

Source: GMAC Year-End Poll of Employers