Pre-COVID-19 Job Market Stability Provides Cautious Hope in Uncertain Times

The results from our Fall 2019 Recruiting Trends Survey were released recently. The survey asks member schools to compare on and off-campus recruiting during the fall to the same time period the previous year. Completed by 74 schools, the survey was in the field January through February of this year.


Overall, the survey showed a stable job market for all program types. The percent of schools reporting an increase in both on and off-campus recruiting varied by less than 5% when compared to last year's survey. Specialty master's programs showed the largest change in on-campus recruiting (an increase of 4% from the previous year).

Technology was the sector that experienced the largest increase for all program types, with specialty master's showing the highest growth. 72% of schools reported an increase in this sector for specialty master's students, compared with 36% showing an increase last year.

Virtual recruitment was on the rise even pre-COVID-19, with 71% of schools reporting an increase in virtual interviewing for full-time MBA programs. 63% reported an increase in company use of AI-empowered pre-interview screening tools. With the rapid increase of these tools in current times, we will likely see this continue after the job market returns to some form of normalcy. Schools have noted that virtual recruitment greatly expands company reach, providing new opportunities and a broader base from which to hire.  
Even though the job market is less certain now, the talents and skills that graduate business students bring to the table – problem solving, entering into new markets, contingency planning and overall strategy – are still valued. Schools are finding new and innovative ways to help students with developing and marketing these skills, as well as uncovering hidden opportunities.
Career management teams are working one-on-one and assisting some with adjusting their job search strategy or even with considering a new career function all together. Alumni connections are more important than ever, with many assisting their alma mater with advice and job leads. Some schools have facilitated short-term projects to provide real-world experience for students whose internship programs were cancelled, allowing them to work with non-profits and small businesses to lend assistance with things such as resiliency plans and re-evaluation.
Current and future job markets stand to benefit from the relative stability at the beginning of this year, providing hope that the economy will return to a sense of normalcy once the pandemic subsides.

View the full survey results
View the press release