With the U.S. unemployment rate at a 20-year low and more than 3 million jobs created since November 2016, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, it's safe to say businesses are in hiring mode. They don't want just anybody filling their open positions, though. They want qualified candidates, and will wait months if that's what it takes to find the best of the best.
So it may come as no surprise that the vast majority of employers are actively looking for job seekers with a Master of Business Administration degree, according to the results of a newly released report.
Eight in 10 companies intend to hire MBA graduates in 2018 - that's the main takeaway of analysis conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council.
Business grads making six-figure salaries just starting out Not only are firms looking to employ MBA grads, but willing to compensate candidates handsomely for their knowledge and capabilities. The projected median base salary for those starting out is $105,000, the GMAC study revealed. That's considerably more than the starting salary for candidates with a bachelor's degree, making $65,000 in gross annual income.
Graduate school not only enables students to further hone their practical skills in their chosen profession but furthers their financial interests as well. According to the BLS, people with professional degrees earn over $700 more per year than those with a bachelor's, based on 2017 data. They're also less likely to be out of work, with the unemployment rate just 1.5 percent compared to a jobless rate of 2.5 percent for those with a bachelor's.
Sangeet Chowfla, CEO and president at the GMAC, said individuals whose postgraduate educational pursuits are in business have done quite well of late, as they continue to be hot commodities for the companies hiring.
"Over the past several years, we have tracked positive trends in hiring of MBA and business master's graduates," Chowfla explained in a press release. "Graduates are commanding compensation premiums and companies are increasing starting salaries."
Business grads outrank engineering in desirability In a separate survey done by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, college students who recently graduated with business degrees are graduates with the most in-demand major this summer for hiring companies. Thirty-five percent of respondents indicated they're prioritizing candidates whose studies were in business, well ahead of those looking for people with engineering backgrounds or computer sciences at 22 percent and 18 percent, respectively.
Even when candidates don't possess the proper educational credentials, employers are willing to pay for advanced degrees, more so today than in previous years. This further establishes how much companies value educational attainment. Approximately 60 percent of respondents in the GMAC study said they offered financial assistance for talent development and employee education initiatives. Of these, two-thirds said a higher share of their budgets were going toward these purposes than five years ago.
"The jobs market in the U.S. right now is robust," Chowfla said. "Companies are constantly having to evaluate their prospects and how best to fill their available roles with strong talent."
At 82 percent, most employers are satisfied with how colleges and universities prepare their students for the working world, according to the CareerBuilder survey. But educational attainment isn't the only thing business owners want from the people they're poised to hire. They also want to see certain sought-after qualities during the interview, like asking intelligent questions, having professional references listed on their résumé and a demonstrated knowledge about the company for which they're seeking work.
Internships can help in this regard. Approximately 62 percent of employers plan to offer them this year, if they aren't already, the GMAC report detailed.
"Internships continue to be an avenue to jobs for many business school graduates," the report said. "Internships provide a way to understand a company, the culture and expectations and remain a good opportunity to obtain permanent positions."
MBA graduates are already in a good position to land a job. By balancing their educational accomplishments with on-the-job experience and making a good first impression, they'll position themselves well with rival job seekers.
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