Feb 8, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

The 2017 job outlook for MBA graduates is strong, according to a year-end survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), as reported by The Globe and Mail. Here’s a closer look at the findings, along with one particular takeaway for job-seekers looking to position themselves for success with employers.

A Favorable Outlook

Conducted in November, the annual GMAC poll checked in with 140 companies in 21 countries. Not only did 83 percent of respondents indicate that they planned to hire grads with MBAs or other specialty degrees in 2017, but 53 percent also anticipated raising base annual salaries in line or above inflation rates. Said GMAC director of research Gregg Schoenfeld, “There is continued optimism in the marketplace among employers in the hiring market.”

One related finding? While ongoing monitoring is necessary due to the small sample size of the survey, GMAC data further suggested that many employers are feeling increased uncertainty regarding their hiring intentions due to the change in administration in the US.

What Are They Looking For?

The survey also delivered interesting insights into hiring priorities for the year ahead. One goal topping the list of many companies? Overcoming challenges to growth or global positioning. In pursuit of this objective, the majority of companies -- just under 75 percent -- revealed that they planned to focus on enhancing both performance and productivity in 2017. Cutting costs was also a priority for nearly half -- 48 percent -- of respondents.

A major takeaway for MBAs, according to Schoenfeld? “If I was job-seeking, I might want to focus on how my talents and skills can help them [employers] achieve their goals.”

According to The Globe and Mail, this survey merely represents “an early snapshot of employer hiring trends.” A more comprehensive report will follow later this year when GMAC conducts its more exhaustive annual survey of company recruiters. 

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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