There’s more evidence of ongoing job uncertainty for the MBA Class of 2023 in an ew poll by Intelligent.com.
Last year’s GMAC survey of MBA students revealed that of those who responded, 86% had full-time employment by graduation. The year prior that number was 80%. Now Intelligent.com’s new poll produces some contrasting figures for this year, demonstrating the ongoing job uncertainty that the Class of 2023 has already experienced so far. (See: What Do The Consulting Hiring Delays Mean For the MBA Class of 2023?)
The higher education research group surveyed 1,000 MBA graduates from this spring using a convenience sampling method, which is a non-probability sampling method where units are selected for inclusion in the sample because they are the easiest for the researcher to access. Sixty-eight percent responded that they didn’t have a full-time job lined up after graduation. About 3-in-10 respondents said their full-time job won’t start until 2024.
Meanwhile, 81% of students say they applied to jobs that preferred applicants with experience using ChatGPT, emphasizing not just the language model’s popularity, but the business sector’s burgeoning interest for workers who can use it.
SURVEY: WOMEN LESS LIKELY TO GET HIRED THAN MEN
In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that the country’s top consulting firms – McKinsey & Co., Bain & Co., and Boston Consulting Group – announced delayed start dates as far out as 2024. Given that the finance sector has been designated as prone to job losses, or the massive lay-offs dealt earlier this year in tech, the job market has proved a little rougher for MBA grads.
It’s a big deal when pursuit of a full-time MBA can mean taking two years off work, the top programs themselves can cost six figures a year, and that 83% of respondents, according to the survey, say they took out student loans to attend their programs.
The survey found women were more likely to conclude that they didn’t have a full-time job over men (73% v. 63%). For online MBA grads, the numbers faired a little better. 57% said they had a full-time job after graduation, while in-person program-types lagged behind at 28%, and hybrid students reported even lower job outcomes at 24%. Though, it’s important to note some online MBAs at some B-Schools are marketed as working professional programs, so being employed is already a requirement in those cases.
It’s also important to keep in mind that Intelligent’s survey sampled 1,000 graduates compared to GMAC’s most recent summary report – a year ago – garnered 1,718 respondents from 299 different B-Schools.
Diane Gayeski, a professor of strategic communication at Ithaca College and former dean of Roy H. Park School of Communications, says nonetheless there’s a lot of economic uncertainty factoring into how companies look at hiring now.
“We’ve read about all the problems in terms of government funding, then what’s happening to regional banks. I think post COVID-19, the tech market and consulting are re-adjusting … There’s hesitancy as to the direction of tech, especially given the meteoric rise of AI,” Gayeski tells Poets&Quants in an interview.
During the pandemic, plenty was invested in tech infrastructure to accommodate work during the lockdown, Gayeski says. But rapid gains like that weren’t sustainable, and she points to layoffs in the consulting industry as a reason for not justifying new hires or the possibility that companies have more conservative investment practices.
HOW AI MAY RESTRUCTURE THE EMPLOYMENT LANDSCAPE
Gayeski runs a consulting practice called Gayeski Analytics to help organizations assess and adopt new technologies and strategies around workforce learning and communication. She says the next big consulting projects around the corner are going to be centering around artificial intelligence. Specifically, how organizations view staff, workflow, or job descriptions given the growing availability of not just ChatGPT, but other kinds of AI.
“I think that’s why consulting companies are not failing to hire. They’re just kind of postponing bringing up those people for a couple of months, because I think they’re expecting that the projects will probably start rolling in,” she says.
The survey found: 44% of respondents have a start date in May-Aug. 2023, 28% in Sept.-Dec. 2023, 17% Jan.-April 2024, 6% May-Aug. 2024, and 4% September-August 2024. Half of a percent say that they will start in 2025 or later.
COULD AUTOMATION REPLACE OR AUGMENT THE WORKFORCE?
The elimination of jobs as a result of emerging technology was discussed during a Senate panel earlier this month when some members of Congress peppered questions about government oversight to ChatGPT CEO Sam Altman, IBM’s Christina Montgomery, and the NYU professor and cognitive scientist Gary Marcus.
More recently, a report from Goldman Sachs says AI could replace 300 million jobs. On the other aisle, it’s been argued that AI-driven software might create more jobs, change job tasks, eliminate menial tasks and actually add more productive insights for the workforce.
“[At work] everybody seems overwhelmed and pretty stressed out. And if they can have an assistant, they would happily have an assistant, and that’s what AI is. I don’t think it’s going to eliminate jobs at the MBA level,” Gayeski says.
Gayeski says she sees a lot students are starting to adopt AI as a tool or are, at least, investigating it.
For the survey, 29% responded they were “extremely experienced” with ChatGPT, 31% noted they were “very experienced,” and 26% said they were “somewhat experienced.” Only 10% say they are “not very experienced,” and 4% have no experience with the AI tool.
See Intelligent.com’s new poll here.