Asia Pacific Businesses To Continue MBA Hiring Spree

A survey of more than 1,200 employers has shown Asia-Pacific businesses expect to continue hiring MBAs at near record levels, with consulting healthcare and technology businesses all looking for top talent.

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) have released the latest Business School Hiring Report.

The survey is based on findings from the annual Corporate Recruiters Survey, with over 1,200 employers in 45 countries providing insight into current market and hiring trends among MBA and business master’s graduates.   

This year 87 percent of companies in Asia Pacific plan to hire MBAs—the
highest share of any world region, though off slightly compared with last year (90%). Nearly 7 in 10 European companies plan to hire MBAs in 2019 (69%), up from 2018 projections (64%).

While most employers express optimism for 2019, a smaller proportion of companies are planning for growth and expansion compared with last year (64% vs. 69%). MBA hiring projections for 2019 remain strong relative to historic trends, but for the second consecutive year a smaller proportion of companies overall report plans to hire MBA talent compared with the previous year.

The survey also showed recent graduates with an advanced business degree, particularly in the US, are procuring substantial starting salaries. 

The median annual base starting salary US employers plan to offer new MBA hires in 2019 is US$115,000, more than double the median for new bachelor’s degree hires (US$55,000) and the highest ever recorded in the US when adjusted for inflation.  By industry among US employers, median MBA starting salaries are highest in the consulting (US$135,000) and finance/accounting (US$125,000) industries.

The median annual base starting salary US employers plan to offer new MBA hires in 2019 is the highest ever recorded when adjusted for inflation

“Employers clearly place a high value on acquiring MBA and business master’s graduates,” said Sangeet Chowfla, President and CEO of GMAC.  “We are seeing a highly active candidate marketplace in terms of geographical shifts in study destinations, but the value that both employers and graduates see in an advanced business degree is a constant.”

Overall, most employers plan to increase MBA starting salaries in 2019 (56%), including 63 percent of Asia-Pacific employers, 56 percent of US employers, and 49 percent of European employers. Median annual base starting salaries vary considerably by world region. European companies plan to offer new MBA hires US$95,000 this year, and the median for Asia-Pacific companies is US$45,000.

International hiring is on the rise among Asia-Pacific and European companies as US companies continue to pull back. Seventy-one percent and 69 percent of European and Asia-Pacific companies, respectively, either plan to or are willing to hire international candidates in 2019, both up from recent years.

“Our recent research reported on the decline in US companies recruiting international students from MBA and specialty master’s programs based on uncertainty about economic conditions,” said Megan Hendricks, Executive Director for the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance. 

“While the decline in this year’s GMAC report holds steady with regard to US business’ plans to hire foreign talent, we hope the recent H-1B visa rule change will encourage students to study in the US in order to diversify b-school classrooms and talent pools.” 

“This year’s GMAC report on MBA and GME hiring trends shows the tremendous opportunities graduates have when they finish their business studies,” said Eric Cornuel, Director General & CEO of EFMD. 

“The growth of quality business schools around the world has also been met with increased employment opportunities for graduates in emerging markets and regional economies.  Now is an exciting time to be pursuing an MBA and business master’s degree.”   

GMAC also released a new Career Aspirations Report based on 10 years of data from the Prospective Students Survey. The new report highlights how the mix of GME candidates’ aspirations for their careers post-GME have shifted over time, as now a greater share of candidates seek to enhance their current career path (41%) than switch job functions (36%) or industries (27%).

Candidate interest in consulting is high, as 36 percent identify it as a job function and industry of interest. Other industries of interest include finance/accounting (34% of candidates interested), products/services (27%), and technology (19%).  The desire for international employment also rose slightly (2%).

Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (