Have MBA, Will Travel (Overseas)

Posted by: Geoff Gloeckler on November 20, 2009

Jobless MBAs may have to start looking outside the U.S. for work. MBA salaries have flattened across the globe. And the employers still hiring want more experienced recruits.

That, in essence, is the takeaway from a new survey released by QS TopMBA.com, a career and education network based in the UK. The report, Salary & Recruitment Trends, was compiled based on the responses of 743 recruiters from across the globe. The report’s authors write that the news could have been much worse for grads, but the post-crisis results are still sobering.

Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, the authors contend that the impact of the crisis was felt most strongly in the U.S. Global demand for MBA talent, it says, is growing stronger outside of the West. “What is clear is that MBA demand is no longer concentrated on North America, which in fact is showing declines in MBA hiring,” it reads. “But is moving towards emerging markets in Asia, Middle East and Central Europe where high GDP growth rates are fueling an MBA hiring boom.”

However, that growth in opportunities comes at a price. In the U.S. and Western Europe, QS reports the average starting salary is $91,500. That stands in stark contrast to the $53,300 in Latin America, $55,000 in Asia and $49,560 in Eastern Europe. The good news here is that around the worldwide, paychecks appear to be stable despite the crisis. The bad news is that they’ve stagnated after years of strong growth.

For those employers who are hiring, the data show that they’re playing it safe by looking for experienced recruits. The number of employers looking for MBAs with 5-8 years of experience increased by 22 percentage points this year, to 34% of respondents. The number of employers with demand for MBAs with only 1-3 years of experienced halved, landing at 17%. And the demand for MBAs with less than one year of experience fell to just 2% of employers, down from 10% the year before. This could spell trouble for the programs that seek out younger students, as fresh-faced grads face an increasingly hostile job market.

-Anne VanderMey

Reader Comments

steve bangalore

November 23, 2009 7:52 AM

I am a long term expat in the developing world. If you can even get a job without prior overseas experience, then you just have to complete the contract term. Nothing looks worse than a failed international assignment on your resume. When you get to Hanoi or Tblisi or Nairobi or Windhouk or whereever, don't start complaining about the country after the first week.

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