In spite of all the economic gloom, MBA and Masters in Management recruiters are surprisingly upbeat about their hiring prospects for 2012, according to a survey conducted last month by the Graduate Management Admissions Council.

The report contains two pieces of good news. First the number of companies planning to hire management graduates next year is higher than this year. Second, those recruiters who already hire are planning to hire more.

According to the data, the number of companies planning to recruit MBA graduates in 2012 is 28 per cent higher than in 2011. For master in management degrees the figure is up 42 per cent. Some 22 per cent of companies are expected to hire more MBAs than they did this year and prospects for masters students are higher too.

Internships are also on the rise, with 69 per cent of employers planning to offer paid internships to MBA students in 2012. And nearly all companies - 95 per cent upwards - said they intended to maintain or increase salaries for business graduates.

GMAC, authors of the GMAT test, the entry test for business school, contacted 3,358 employers with a view to completing the survey. Some 7 per cent - 229 respondents from 216 companies - complied. Though the numbers are relatively low, previous experience suggests they may be accurate. When comparing employers’ hiring projections with their actual hires in 2011, survey respondents displayed an extremely high level of accuracy: between 93 and 96 per cent of companies hired as planned.

The optimism for the job market is borne out by the recent release of recruitment figures for London Business School’s Masters in Management degree. According to the school, 96 per cent of the 2011 class of 140 graduates had a job within three months of graduation, up from 95 per cent in 2010.

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