‘Lack Of Skills, Creativity’ Main Obstacles In Global MBA Hiring Market

Employers are generally positive toward MBA hiring and business schools, according to a new study.

The survey by the Association of MBAs & Business Graduates Association revealed both positive and not-so-positive news for current and future MBAs. AMBA & BGA surveyed 1,047 member employers between March 27 and May 27 to get a sense of the current hiring climate. The respondents spanned 32 different industries, and most (28%) were based in Europe or the UK (15%). Another 13% are based in Africa, 12% hail from Asia and the Middle East (not including 8% from India), and 11% are based in Latin America. Some 7% are based in North America and the Caribbean.

The bad news: The majority of employers (59%) envision hiring fewer management leaders in 2020 compared to 2019. Just 14% say they plan on hiring more than the previous year, and 16% say it will be about the same.

AMBA and BGA study graph

Asked what they thought are the main issues in the employment market, “lack of skills” was the highest-listed obstacle, with 53% of respondents marking it as a problem. Lack of creativity was the next issue many employers listed as a dilemma, and more than a quarter (28%) of respondents listed too many candidates for too few jobs.

AMBA and BGA study graph


What could some of those missing skills be? The survey also set out to measure just that by looking at skill gaps among MBAs. Respondents were asked to rate the MBAs they’ve worked with on various hard- and soft-skills. Not surprisingly, MBAs were rated best for “management know-how” where respondents scored them an average of 7.89 out of 10 possible points. “Leadership traits” was the next highest with a 7.7 average and “problem solving” earned a score of 7.69.

Interestingly, MBAs were scored worst on technical hard skills like “use of technology” which earned an average of 7.08 and “computer programming” which earned just a 5.27.

AMBA and BGA study graph

Specifically, 57% of respondents rated MBAs “fairly well” or “very well” at using big data. But 34% rated MBAs “not very well” or “not well at all” at using big data. For artificial intelligence and augmented reality, the scores got a bit worse for MBAs. Just 44% said MBAs used AI “very well” or “fairly well.” The same number (44%) either rated MBAs’ ability to use AI as “not very well” or “not well at all.” And for augmented reality, only 33% said MBAs used the technology “very well” or “fairly well.” The majority (52%) said MBAs used augmented reality “not very well” or “not well at all.”

AMBA and BGA study graph

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