Hiring Outlook Remains Optimistic for 2006

This is the first in an occasional series of short articles focusing on career-related issues for the ECs in the fall and RCs in the winter. This week, we will shed some light on the macro conditions in the job market. Please contact the News Editor at jchng@mba2007.hbs.edu if you wish to comment or contribute to the series.

We have all heard it. The news on the street is good. Jobs are plentiful and salaries are rising. How true is it though?

A recent survey of 14,000 employers across the United States by Manpower Inc, an employment company, found that 28% of those surveyed expect to increase hiring, 58% expect no change in their hiring pace, 8% are reducing their payroll and 6% are undecided for the last quarter of 2006. This bodes well for the jobs market in the US in general as the recruiting season opens for the ECs in the fall.

According to the report, the hiring pace is edging down in the Finance/Insurance/Real Estate and Education sectors, while maintaining constant in other sectors like Manufacturing, Transportation/Public Utilities. However, the Financial Times has reported that the market for American MBAs is being shaped by the upsurge in hiring in management consultancies. Bain & Company for instance, has increased its global recruitment of MBAs by 20% last year and is expected to do the same this year. The Financial Times also reported that average starting salaries for MBAs from the top business schools are expected to be at least $100,000, if not more. The average starting salary for MBAs from the MIT Sloan School of Management for example, was $103,000 this year, with 92% of students having a job offer upon graduating.

Internationally, hiring activity is expected to improve, with the strongest hiring activity expected in Peru, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, according to the Manpower report, which surveyed 49,000 employers globally. In Asia Pacific, employers in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore reported their most optimistic hiring outlooks since 2003, as did employers in Austria, Italy and Germany in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. According to the Financial Times, the European market for MBAs is driven by an upsurge in investment banking recruitment. London is a particularly popular destination at the moment-at the Columbia Business School, it is the second largest city in terms of alumni, with average MBA starting salaries of œ60,000 to œ65,000 per annum.

The prognosis on the macro-level seems reasonably good. ECs, all together now, breathe.