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Starting Salaries for MBA Talent at US Companies Hit New High

Posted by Matt Hazenbush
Matt is the research communications senior manager at GMAC. He supports our commitment to advance the art and science of admissions through writing research-focused reports and other content on issues affecting graduate management education.

Posted on May 28, 2019 11:01:00 AM

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Findings from GMAC’s annual Corporate Recruiters Survey detail the latest trends in hiring and salaries for MBA and business master’s graduates.

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Across hiring markets, newly minted MBAs continue to command impressive starting salaries relative to other new hires, according to findings detailed in the Business School Hiring Report: Corporate Recruiters Survey 2019, published on gmac.com today. Adjusted for inflation, the median annual base starting salary US companies will offer new MBA hires in 2019 is the highest on record (US$115,000)—notably higher than the median offered to direct-from-industry hires (US$75,000) and more than double the median offered to new bachelor’s degree hires (US$55,000).

Access the business school hiring report  

By industry, median MBA starting salaries at US companies are highest in the consulting (US$135,000) and finance/accounting (US$125,000) industries. Median starting salaries vary considerably by company world region. European companies will offer new MBA hires a median starting salary of US$95,000 and Asia-Pacific companies will offer a median of US$45,000.

Overall, 56 percent of responding companies plan to increase MBA starting salaries this year, a greater proportion than those that plan to increase starting salaries for bachelor’s and direct-from-industry new hires (48% each).

“Employers clearly place a high value on acquiring MBA and business master’s graduates,” said Sangeet Chowfla, President and CEO of GMAC, in the report’s press release. “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.”

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. Seventy-seven percent of US employers plan to hire MBA talent this year, down from 2015 to 2017, when more than 9 in 10 US employers planned to hire MBAs. 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%).

Join the GMAC research team this Thursday, May 30 as we host a webinar in which we’ll cover the survey findings—including data not covered in the report—and discuss what it all means for maintaining the relevance of graduate management education and positioning students for success in the current hiring market. The complimentary webinar will be of particular interest to business school professionals working in the functional areas of admissions, recruitment, and career services, in addition to business school leaders generally. Can’t make it? All registrants receive a link to the webinar recording, slides, and transcript following the live broadcast.

Register for the webinar  

Today GMAC research also released the second in a series of reports to be published this year based on 10 years of data collected from the mba.com Prospective Students Survey. Titled Career Aspirations: mba.com Prospective Students Survey 2019, the report highlights how the mix of GME candidates’ aspirations for their careers post-GME have shifted over time. For example, over the last 10 years the share of candidates who plan to stay on their current career path has increased, growing from 36 percent in 2009 to 41 percent in 2018. Over the same period, trending down has been the share of candidates who plan to switch job functions (42% vs. 36%) and share of candidates who plan to switch industries (32% vs. 27%).

The trends also highlight how larger political and economic factors likely impact the mix of GME candidates’ career aspirations. For example, candidate aspirations for international employment opportunities trended down to a recent low of 27 percent in 2017, consistent with the reduced international student mobility seen in the current political climate. In 2018 it bounced back upward slightly to 29 percent.

Access the Career Aspirations Report  

For more from the mba.com Prospective Students Survey, read April’s Demand for MBA and Business Master’s Programs: Insights on Candidate Decision Making summary and supplemental reports.

Topics: Employment Outlook, Research Insights

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