MBA Job Market Contraction Worsens

Posted by: Louis Lavelle on May 5, 2009

By Mandy Oaklander

You know all those rumors you keep hearing about the depressed MBA jobmarket? About the great upheaval businesses are undergoing just to stay above water? Turns out they’re true, and now, the MBA Career Services Council (MBA CSC) has the numbers to back them up.

The MBA CSC surveyed over 70 business schools—most were ranked nationally or internationally—in the fall and winter of last year and this spring about recruiting activity. For traditionalists, the numbers don’t look good.

First, the bad news. Sixty-four percent of respondents reported in the spring that full-time postings were down at least 11%, compared to 19% of respondents in the fall. The most affected areas were, predictably, the most traditional for MBAs: about 85% of schools reported a downturn in full-time recruiting for investment banking/brokerage in the spring, and real estate job offerings plummeted for a little over half of the surveyed schools.

Internships are following a similar trend—about a quarter of respondents noted that on-campus recruiting for internships was down more than 20%.

But there’s a silver lining to all of the pessimism—a new niche is exploding for MBA mavericks. Half of all surveyed schools reported seeing a springtime increase in recruiting activity for government jobs, and 35% reported a surge in recruiting for healthcare services. In fact, the non-profit, energy, government, and healthcare services sectors were mentioned by about a quarter of respondents as the industries in which they were seeing increased recruiting activity.

What does this mean for you? How does this quantitative assessment of the job market affect your career paths as an MBA or an MBA-hopeful? Will i-banking dreams of making green take a more red-white-and-blue hue, or will the numbers switch again with the seasons?

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