As international Masters programmes are becoming more diversified and innovative, employment trends and movements in the job market remain important factors for graduates to consider. The latest Year-End Employer Poll Report published by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) provides some insightful data about hiring trends of organisations across the globe for Masters graduates.

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The report summarises the responses of 350 employers gathered in November 2018. While the majority of respondents were based in the US, organisations from Europe, Asia, Canada, Africa, and Latin America also took part in the poll. The most interesting findings concern the employment trends for Masters graduates in Management, Data Analytics, and non-business degrees. In comparison, there are fewer fluctuations in the results reported about hiring Finance and Accounting degree graduates.

Overall findings

Perhaps the most notable and exciting finding reveals that more employers are planning to hire Data Analytics graduates and Management graduates in 2019 compared to the actual hiring that took place in 2018. Similarly, the result is positive for people who obtained a non-business Masters degree – 52% of surveyed employers plan to open job positions for non-business graduates in 2019 compared to the 49% of employers who actually hired non-business graduates in 2018.

Read: Bright Future for Data Analytics Graduates

Even more importantly, employers seem to be aware of the value of postgraduate education in areas such as Management and Data Analytics. The questionnaire reveals that the majority of organisations that employed Management graduates and Data Analytics graduates in 2018 plan to hire even more of them in 2019 – 51% and 71% respectively. “Data is revolutionising business, underpinning decision making, and driving innovation. But greater volumes and more detailed data brings new challenges for businesses in converting that data into a more comprehensible and user-friendly format,” says audit and assurance, tax and consulting company PwC on its graduate jobs website.

Geographic trends

Young graduates who are thinking of relocating to another country and have the ambition to kick off their international career after university will need to consider which regions provide the best employment prospects. The GMAC report reveals that while the employment of Masters in Management (MiM) graduates is generally expected to grow across different locations, organisations within developed economies excluding the US plan to hire significantly more Management diploma-holders in 2019 compared to 2018. The hiring of MiMs in developed countries excluding the US is set to reach 50%, while only 33% of US employers expect to hire Management degree-holders.

In some countries, graduate jobs are not easy to come by, but in European countries such as France, Switzerland, and Germany, professional experience is built into degree programmes,” explains Times Higher Education after publishing their Global University Employability Ranking 2018. They add: “France, Germany, and China are among the best represented countries in the employability ranking, along with the United Kingdom and the United States.

An interesting observation is that the 2019 hiring plans for Masters graduates in non-business disciplines remain the same as actual hiring outcomes in 2018 regardless of the company’s location.

Read: Open Doors Report Shows Latest Study Abroad Trends

Industry trends

As a prospective or current Masters student, you may already have an idea of the industries where you would like to develop a career. Most of us know that the tech world is currently booming with employment opportunities as these new digital solutions and innovations also require new skills and fresh minds. It comes as little surprise then that according to the GMAC report, the top industries determined to hire Data Analytics graduates in 2019 are Technology (62%) and Healthcare (57%). Survey results also show that the tech world is increasingly interested in employing non-business Masters graduates (71%) as well as Masters in Management graduates (44%). Freshly graduated specialists in non-business disciplines can also rely on employment in the non-profit and government sectors as 71% of respondents expect to hire such graduates.

Of course, when considering the next steps in their career and consulting similar statistics, students need to be able to adopt a critical mindset and to look at the bigger picture. As author and guidance counsellor Brian Mooney told The Irish Times: “For many, the option of undertaking a postgraduate programme, which will add to and complement their existing skills, is one [undergraduates] need to consider. Such a programme will add a set of transversal or cross-sectoral skills to complement their CV and enhance their employability.” In other words, students should think carefully and make a smart decision when choosing which educational path to take in order to seal their professional success.

Change in starting salaries

Finally, the Year-End Employer Poll Report outlines the expected fluctuations in the monetary compensation of newly hired graduates. The most notable result once again concerns Data Analytics graduates. “Nearly half of employers (47%) plan to increase above the rate of inflation the starting base salaries of 2019 new hires from Master of Data Analytics programmes, more than any business school graduate type,” GMAC says. In contrast, the percentage for the same metric ranges between only 12% and 21% for the rest of the Masters degrees featured in the report. Furthermore, base salaries will probably increase for new hires in 2019 regardless of company location, size, and industry.

Read: Post-Graduate Careers: Is There a Work Skills Gap?

While the employment trends observed by GMAC and other research bodies certainly seem positive for Masters students around the world, remember to adopt a critical perspective. Graduates should consider the next steps in their education and career development with a healthy balance of caution and determination if they wish to make the most of their journey.