width=280The job market for new business school graduates remains difficult, but there are clear signs that employers are becoming increasingly confident about the economy.

Also they are more eager to hire, according to newly released data from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which owns the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). These figures are in line with the preliminary findings of the QS Salary and Recruitment Report 2010, scheduled for release next month.

According to the GMAC survey, the percentage of employers in the EU planning to hire new MBAs is up in 2010 compared with 2009. 45% of respondents to the GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey (2,367 employers representing 1,960 companies in 57 countries) whose firms are based in the EU said they planned to hire new MBA graduates in 2010. This reverses a sharp drop in 2009, when the comparable figure fell to 36% from 44% the year before.


In terms of the sectors MBA graduates are being recruited into:

- The top industries in terms of predicted job opportunities for new MBA graduates in 2010 are consulting and health care.

- Worldwide, positions in marketing and sales are likely to be most plentiful, followed by finance-related slots in areas other than investment banking.

- Employers in the EU are most likely to recruit recent MBAs to work in business development roles, according to the survey.


Employers plan to pay a significant premium for MBA talent, particularly in Europe

- The average starting salary recruiters in the E.U. plan to offer new MBAs this year is €65,419, about 80 percent more than the €36,405 average salary people with only a bachelor's degree can expect to receive.

- Worldwide, new MBAs can expect to receive a salary that averages €61,769.

Recruitment development
In a particularly positive development for job seekers, the survey indicates that employers are shifting away from cost cutting and retrenchment and paying more attention to growing their businesses. Overall, 60% of respondents said they planned to expand their customer bases in 2010, up from just 49% a year prior. Meanwhile, the proportion of respondents concentrating on cost cutting as a key organizational goal dropped from 66% in 2009 to 57% in 2010.

The findings of a separate GMAC survey indicate that employer optimism may take a while to translate into actual job openings.

The percentage of graduates from full-time two-year MBA programs worldwide who had an offer of employment prior to finishing school dropped to 40 percent in 2010 from 50 percent the previous year, according to the latest GMAC Graduate Management Education Graduate Survey.

The number of job offers reported by survey participants in these MBA programs who did land positions declined about 13 percent.

Still, students graduating in 2010 were slightly more optimistic about the economy than people in the class of 2009.