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It continues to be good news for MBA students looking for their first job after graduation, with 84 per cent of the companies surveyed planning to recruit MBAs to their workforce this year and 50 per cent of them increasing salaries. The results of the latest survey of employers from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) will also be encouraging news for business schools, which have seen applications to full-time MBA programmes stagnate in recent years.

It is more than a decade since GMAC has reported such optimism among MBA recruiters worldwide. The intended hiring figures reported this month beat the 82 per cent of recruiters who said they would hire MBAs back in 2005, the highest previous figure. In 2014 the reported figure was 74 per cent and five years ago, at the height of the banking crisis and recession, just 62 per cent.

Recruiters are particularly keen on graduates with data analytics skills, according to GMAC president Sangeet Chowfla.

However, there are strong regional variations. In the US, 92 per cent of companies said that they were planning to recruit more MBAs this year. Specialised masters degree are also proving popular in the US, with the proportion of US companies planning to hire these graduates also showing a sharp increase over previous years.

The median starting salary expected in 2015 for recent MBA graduates in the US is US$100,000, an increase of US$5,000 on 2014 salaries.

Meanwhile in Europe, where Masters in Management degrees are the flagship programme of most business schools, just 56 per cent of the surveyed recruiters said they intended to employ MBAs. The 2015 Corporate Recruiters Survey was conducted by GMAC in conjunction with EFMD, the European business school accreditation body.

In both Asia and Latin America the percentage of companies intending to recruit MBA graduates this year is 75 per cent.

Some 748 employers in 47 countries responded to the GMAC survey.

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