Hiring Demand, Salaries on Upswing for MBA Graduates

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For Kelley Evening MBA students graduating in May or August, there’s a bit of good news on the salary and hiring front.

In a recently released survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), employers indicated that the hiring demand for MBA graduates is expected to increase at a very healthy rate this year. MBA graduates will be highly sought-after, with 72 percent of employers reporting that they plan to hire an MBA in 2015.

The GMAC’s 2014 year-end poll of employers gathered data from 169 firms worldwide. As the economy continues to recover from the global recession of 2008 through 2012, employers are once again focusing on expansion plans and growth opportunities, resulting in increased hiring.

“Roughly a quarter of our students are looking to land positions in new companies, so an increase in hiring is good news,” said Gordon McCurdy, director of the Evening MBA program. “On top of that, about half our students are seeking a promotion. And while an increase in hiring may not seem meaningful to them, it is still very good news for them, too, as it signals that employers are in a growth mode. It’s a lot easier to get a promotion when the economy is growing than it is when it is shrinking.”

"In the past, we have seen companies come up with creative ways to keep graduates who have opportunities elsewhere,” McCurdy added. “We are seeing that some employers are investing in employee education again and are expanding their tuition reimbursement. And we are seeing that forward-looking companies are exploring other ways that they can develop their existing employees and capitalize on the talent they have rather than lose that talent and start all over again in the training and development process."

Compensation for MBA grads is also expected to remain robust in 2015. Nearly half of all companies (47 percent) are expected to increase salaries at the same rate as inflation. Even more importantly, fully 18 percent expect to raise wages above the rate of inflation.

“MBA graduates need to have a lot of experience in order to continue to have higher wages,” noted one U.S. technology employer.

While the number of companies expected to hire newly minted bachelor’s degree holders is expected to dip slightly in 2015, from 82 percent in 2014 to 78 percent this year, firms hiring candidates who are already in the workforce is expected to remain steady at 85 percent. That’s especially good news for graduates of the Evening MBA program, who have continued to gain valuable experience and knowledge of their industries while working toward their degrees. The average Kelley Evening MBA graduate has already spent eight to 10 years in the workforce.

In the coming months, McCurdy looks forward to hiring an associate director for graduate advising and professional development. And that, he says, will only enhance career opportunities for Kelley Evening MBA grads.

“The person in this position will have considerable experience counseling mid-career professionals who seek to advance their careers,” he said. “We’re looking for someone who has a deep understanding of what it takes to advance in an organization, from a small start-up to a Fortune 500 company. This includes landing a new position, getting recognized for adding value and climbing the ladder. This is going to provide a huge benefit to both our students and our alumni.”