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The Graduate Management Admission Council recently released its annual 2020 Corporate Recruiters Survey. GMAC is an international association of leading graduate business schools. The report was initially concluded in March of 2020, just when COVID-19 was unfolding across the globe.

Given the disruptive nature of the pandemic, the council decided on gathering additional data to expand the results and understand the economic impact of COVID-19 especially regarding hiring and salary trends. Moreover, the report wanted to gain a deeper perspective on the skills employers are looking for as the economy continues to grapple with the downturn.

Below, we’ll highlight the key findings of the latest report to be able to help business masters graduates as well as current and potential students plan their careers.

Recruitment plans for companies in 2021

Globe News Wire reports that before COVID-19, 92% of companies were intent on hiring MBA graduates in 2020. During the height of the pandemic outbreak last year, this figure dipped to 77%. However when discussing hiring plans for 2021, about 90% of employers plan to hire MBA graduates, which is at levels similar to pre-COVID. For those who are planning on pursuing an MBA this year or next, these figures are a positive sign. Although business schools and support institutions may be changing how they are operating such as through hosting Virtual MBA Tours and administering the GMAT online, the value and potential of completing an MBA degree still remains largely the same.

Top skills for MBA grads according to recruiters

Fortune 100 companies are extremely confident in graduate business schools’ ability to prepare students to be successful in their organizations. Among MBA graduates, however, honing certain skills can help them become more attractive to employers in this day and age.

Given the context of COVID-19, recruiters from Fortune 100 businesses are looking for individuals who possess strategic thinking, good communication, and versatility. Two in three respondents expressed an increased importance in the ability for candidates to navigate technological disruption because of the pandemic. In an increasingly globalized world, Fortune 100 businesses are also looking for employees who can handle the global business environment. Most of the Fortune 100 businesses are classified as C corporations in the U.S. In a post that touches on C Corporations vs. LLCs by ZenBusiness, they note how the former are allowed to take their business overseas. Thus, having candidates who can manage an international transition is crucial. As C-corporations are getting fewer and fewer in the United States according to TaxFoundation.org, this could have an impact on employee hiring among the top 100 companies.

Projected salaries per industry

The Corporate Recruiters Survey 2020 Research infographic presents the three big industries for MBA hires: consulting, finance, and technology. A projected command premium salary in the field of consulting for MBA hires is $145,000 annually. The finance and technology industries are tied in second place, with a projected premium salary of $115,000 annually. The median projected annual base starting salary for 2020 new hires is at $115,000 for MBA graduates, which is almost double what a Master of Accounting or Master in Management would earn. During the second wave of data collection, median base salary for MBA graduates softens slightly but is still projected to be over $100,000. This is another good sign for those finishing their MBAs or those considering taking one soon.

Written by Tati Walsh for Dominate Test Prep