Employment slips for MBA grads: Poll
Fewer business school graduates report landing jobs this year, and it appears that employers are continuing to scale back bonuses and other incentives.
A recent alumni poll by the Graduate Management Admission Council said that 90 percent of the class of 2013, which includes both U.S. and international students in full-time programs, has been successful on the job hunt. That's 2 percent less than last year.
"The 90 percent is showing more of a global picture," said GMAC Director Gregg Schoenfeld, who helped lead the survey. "What we see among U.S. citizens is 95 percent of them were employed. The European numbers brought the figure down a bit."
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Conducted in September, the survey found the average starting base pay for U.S. MBAs had risen from $86,700 to $90,000—plus $10,000 in extra compensation, flat from the previous year.
Ironically, the data suggest total salaries for B-school graduates were far better a year after the beginning of the financial crisis. In 2009, bonuses and other incentives rose to an average of $20,000 annually, boosting incomes to the $110,000 mark.
Static bonuses could reflect the tough times Wall Street firms are still working through, said Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi.
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"The increase in compensation [base salaries] would be more consistent with the steady improvement in the jobs market for very skilled and educated workers, like MBA graduates," he added.
To some degree, Zandi said, surveys are influenced by which sector graduates have chosen. Some areas typically don't offer bonus opportunities.
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GMAC found that fewer graduates had accepted positions in financial services this year even though it is still one of the industry's top three hiring leaders for the class of 2013. The others are products and services, and consulting. Health care and energy are at the bottom.
Despite any declines, the new figures indicated that the environment is more stable for MBA graduates now than it was four years ago—when nearly one in five did not find jobs the year they finished their degrees.
—By CNBC's Stephanie Landsman. Follow her on Twitter @stephlandsman.