26% of employers want AI skills from business grads: GMAC survey

AI For Business

HYDERABAD: AI is becoming a crucial skill for business school graduates, according to a survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

The growing importance of artificial intelligence (AI) is causing employer confidence in graduate business education (GME) to soar, despite concerns about inflation and the risk of a recession, according to a survey of companies.

While AI is currently considered important by only 26% of employers, its importance is predicted to grow significantly over the next five years, influencing hiring trends across a range of industries, including consulting, finance, accounting and technology.

What is the survey about?

The Corporate Recruiter Survey, conducted by GMAC in collaboration with EFMD and MBA CSEA, collected data from January to March 2024 from 931 corporate recruiters and hiring managers across 38 countries.

The survey aims to provide insight into current trends in skill demand, employment, remuneration and perceptions of MBA and business masters graduates, helping business schools and employers respond in a changing job market.

Growing Employer Confidence in GME

Employer confidence in GME has reached new heights since the pandemic, with many global recruiters planning to maintain or increase hiring in 2024.

A third of respondents expect to hire more MBA graduates than they did last year, reflecting widespread optimism about the value of GME.

Employers consistently value strategic thinking, leadership and problem-solving skills, and as generative AI reshapes the labor market, these core competencies are seen as essential globally.

GMAC CEO Joy Jones highlighted how future business leaders will need to balance technological advances with human understanding to effectively navigate ongoing change.

Remote Work Skills and Remote Learning

The survey found a significant increase in the perceived value of GME skills in remote and hybrid work environments.

Nearly two-thirds of employers believe these skills are more important now than they were in 2021 at the peak of the pandemic.

However, confidence in skills acquired in online programs, particularly technical, leadership, and communication skills, remains lower than skills acquired in face-to-face programs.

Despite economic uncertainty, employers remain optimistic about hiring business graduates. Consulting, finance, and accounting fields are expected to see employment growth for MBA graduates, with data and business analytics fields seeing the most growth.

Looking at the regions, the United States and technology sectors are the most conservative in their hiring expansion, while Asia reports the highest hiring intentions across all GME degree types.

International employment trends

The survey highlighted a significant increase in international employment, particularly in Asia and Western Europe, compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Martin Boehm from the EBS School of Economics and Law highlighted the benefits of international education and employment, stressing the importance of intercultural competence and global employability.

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