Encouraging news for students in graduate management programs around the world: The latest crop of graduates reports a strong employment market with higher total compensation than in 2021, according to the latest survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council.
GMAC released its 2022 this month, exploring the year-over-year differences in students’ overall experience graduate management education (GME), job prospects, career advancement, and more. Overall, recent grads reported that employment after graduation jumped 6 percentage points over last year while total compensation rose 29% after attaining their degrees.
This survey is a bit different from other industry student surveys because it focuses on the most recent graduating class – this one from 2022 – rather than on prospective students or alumni. It also shows student perceptions of those who graduated at a later period in the pandemic, compared to the 2021 survey when students were completing their studies in a more disruptive stage. That led to some marked improvements in student perception for high-touch, personalized aspects of graduate business programs such as career services (up 10 percentage points from the previous year) and student services (up 5 points).
“This year’s summary report explores respondent views on their overall GME experience, job search, career goals and progression, and compensation, as well as the overall value of their degrees, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the survey reads.
The 2022 survey sample includes 1,718 total respondents from 299 business schools and 57 countries. Students were surveyed this May, and they were either still enrolled in business schools or had just graduated.
Below are six key takeaways from GMAC’s 2022 Enrolled Student Survey.
1. Graduate jobs up 6 points compared to 2021
Despite volatile economic conditions, recession rumblings, and rumored layoffs in some of the big tech companies, 2022 graduates seemingly took advantage of the recent strong jobs market. An impressive 86% of graduating respondents were employed at the time of graduation, up 6 points from 2021 graduates.
Graduates from Asia-Pacific and Europe had the best job prospects – both overall and in comparison to last year. Some 91% of graduates from Asia-Pacific graduates were employed at the time of graduation while 90% of European graduates were. That compared to 78% and 75% respectively who reported finding jobs in 2021.
“Also noteworthy is the significant year-on-year increase in recent graduates who plan to be self-employed, rising from 1 to 10 percent overall. A similar increase is seen across program types and world regions,” the report notes.
Globally by program type, graduates with a business master’s degree fared the best in the 2022 job market while professional MBA graduates showed the most improvement year-over-year:
- 91% of business master’s students reported having jobs upon graduation in 2022 compared to 82% in 2021, a 9-point jump.
- 89% of professional MBA graduates secured jobs in 2002 compared to 77% last year, a 12-point jump.
- 83% of full-time MBA graduates had jobs in 2022 compared to 79% last year, a 4-point jump.
Status of Job Offer or Employment at Time of Graduation
2. Most career changers and advancers were successful.
Consistent with GMAC’s Prospective Students Survey 2022, the top motivators for current students and recent graduates were to make a career change or advance in their current career, even amid the Great Resignation. Mostly, they were successful.
Overall, 57% of recent grads who reported career change as a top-three motivator made it happen – including 66% for students who attended a business school in Latin America, Middle East, and Africa. Success rates for students from other regions are as follows:
- North America, 61%
- Asia-Pacific, 54%
- Europe, 55%
For students who wanted to gain a promotion, 56% graduates overall achieved one. This includes a 67% success rate in North American B-schools, 63% in Europe, 51% in Asia-Pacific, and 39% in Latin America/Middle East/Africa.
More generally, 85% of respondents rated the overall value of their degree as good to outstanding, up from 82% in 2021. Regionally, Asia-Pacific schools had the highest improvement in this category, with favorable rates increasing from 75% to 86% year-over-year.
Top Three Motivations to Pursue GME and Success in Achieving Them
3. Compensation surged around the globe, but especially in North America.
The good news for seekers of a graduate business degree is that it continues to pay dividends in one of the most important variables: Total compensation. Around the world and across degree types, total compensation for recent graduates rose 29% compared to before they achieved the degree.
Some degrees and some regions were more lucrative than others, however.
Full-time MBA grads from North America, for example, saw their total compensation (base salary, bonuses, etc.) jump 50%, jumping from a median of $80,000 before attaining the degree to $120,000 after.
Asia-Pacific school graduates in full-time MBA programs, meanwhile, reported a median compensation increase of $15,000, from $65,000 pre-degree to $80,000 post-degree.
Total Compensation Prior to and Following GME
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