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Are businesses planning to hire international graduates in 2018?

Dimmer chances of getting hired this year. Source: Shutterstock

If you’re a recent international business graduate, job prospects this year aren’t looking so good…

A recent report by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the Corporate Recruiters Survey 2018shows that less than half (47 percent) of US companies plan to or are willing to hire international talent in 2018. Last year, more than half (55 percent) had plans to do so.

“Plans for hiring international candidates in 2018 have softened slightly, but employers maintain high level of interest for international hiring,” the report wrote.

Across the globe, employers are cutting down on the hiring of international talent:

“Overall, 42 percent of responding employers hired international talent in 2017, down from 49 percent in 2016,” the report found.


The Asia-Pacific (APAC) saw the biggest drop in the proportion of international graduates hired in 2017 – only 28 percent hired in 2017 compared to 40 percent the previous year.

Analysis of the survey is based on responses from 1,066 employers in 42 countries who work directly with participating business schools.

In the UK, the aftermath of its citizens voting to leave the European Union continues to hit business schools there, causing them to lose students, staff and funding.

Speaking to Business BecauseFarah Abdul Hadi who was pursuing her MBA at Warwick Business School when the Brexit vote happened said Brexit has made job hunting difficult for many of her MBA colleagues. She says her international classmates were forced to take lower-paid, lower-grade jobs than they had expected; many looked outside the UK.

“Out of the international students, I think just two of us got the opportunity to stay in the UK,” she recalls.

“It was more difficult to find jobs, and I wouldn’t say that it’s getting any easier.”

Despite this and more reports casting doubts on the merits of getting an MBA, Forbes reported that interest in MBAs is not waning.

Citing the annual survey by the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC), it found that 57 percent of prospective students are applying MBAs to acquire new skills and knowledge about business, followed by 49 percent of respondents who respondent they wanted “access to job prospects, including the opportunity to transition into a new career”.

Hiring appetite varies according to sectors

International business school graduates should aim to apply to technology and consulting companies if they want to land a job this year.

According to GMAC’s report, technology and consulting companies are the industries most likely to have international hiring plans in 2018. In contrast, healthcare and manufacturing were found to be the least likely to hire international business graduates.

US companies cite legal paperwork and financial cost as the top barriers towards hiring international candidates. For Asian companies, high costs still matter but come in second to the main reason: that they can recruit talent domestically.

In the event they are hiring, APAC employers are planning to place their new employees in Asia, mainly East and Southeast Asia (58 percent) and Central and South Asia (48 percent).

US employers, on the other hand, plan to place recent business graduate hires in Western Europe (35 percent) and East and Southeast Asia (27 percent). While these are their stated plans, take note that companies usually place new business recruits in the company’s home region.

In the face of such dim job prospects, it appears to make more sense to pursue a postgraduate course in computer scienceUS News reported that computer-related occupations are bringing in higher salaries, especially for those with an advanced degree in the field as many economic sectors face a shortage of tech workers.

“The demand for technological workers continues to increase while facing a limited supply – both are good news for salary,” says Katie Bardaro, an economist and vice president of data analytics at the online salary database PayScale.com.

“When looking at early-career pay – five years or less of experience – a master’s in computer science beats an MBA in national median earnings.”

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