MBA students have reason to celebrate this year as the job market continues to improve and recruiters predict a substantial increase in hiring of business school graduates.

Though the news was widely expected, confirmation from the latest recruiter survey by GMAC, the Graduate Management Admissions Council, will allay many of the concerns experienced by MBA programme directors in recent years.

GMAC’s corporate recruiter survey shows that MBA hiring is up 5 per cent over 2010, to 67 per cent. Recruitment is particularly strong in the finance, accounting, manufacturing and energy sectors, according to the report.

The other good news is that salaries are up, especially in Europe. The salaries offered by European recruiters to new MBA recruits is $91,693, marginally higher than the $91,433 offered by US recruiters.

Participants on MBA programmes echo the optimism. More than half (54 per cent) had at least one job offer at the time the GMAC research was conducted in March, several weeks before graduation. This compares to 32 per cent of respondents to the 2010 survey. But there are regional variations. Students in the Asia-Pacific region were the most likely to have received job offers (67 per cent) compared to 54 per cent in the US.

The corporate recruiter report surveyed 1,509 participants in 905 companies in 51 countries. The graduate survey was compiled from nearly 5,000 (4,794) graduating masters level business students (88 per cent of whom were MBAs) at 156 business schools. Some 80 per cent of the business schools were in the US, as were 65 per cent of the respondents.

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