Even as the global economy heads into recession, the world’s largest cosmetics maker is gearing up to boost youth employment.
L’Oréal For Youth offers a variety of opportunities for people under 30, including jobs, internships and apprenticeships with the French company behind brands like Lancôme and Kiehl’s. The global program offered 18,000 places last year and L’Oréal is targeting 25,000 enrollments in 2022.
Stefanie Messner, the company’s talent acquisition director for France, says job applicants have the upper hand in a tight job market. “The graduates are in a very fortunate position because there is a lot more demand for talent than there is talent out there, so they can choose their jobs. It’s more of a candidate-driven than an employer-driven market.”
How long that will last remains unclear, with some major employers announcing hiring freezes or job cuts as the risk of a recession mounts. But for business school graduates, there are some reasons to be optimistic.
According to a survey of 941 companies from 38 countries in February and March 2022 by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which conducts business school entrance tests, hiring projections remain optimistic. Almost nine in ten corporate recruiters expect to hire Masters in Management (MiM) graduates in 2022, versus 79 percent of the same recruiters they actually hired last year. Most MiM graduates complete the program directly after their first degree and have little or no professional experience.
To attract top talent, U.S. companies plan to offer business masters graduates higher starting salaries in 2022 compared to last year, GMAC found. For example, the average salaries for graduates of Master of Finance and Master of Data Analytics programs have increased by $15,000 and $10,000, respectively, from 2021 levels.
With inflation soaring, GMAC found that educational assistance such as tuition reimbursement has become an increasingly common benefit, with 54 percent of employers offering it in 2022 — up from 35 percent last year. Additionally, the schools say companies are offering flexible remote work options to attract younger workers who want to improve well-being and work-life balance while gaining access to in-office networking and mentoring.
Satya Autar, employer relations manager at Erasmus University’s Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands, says Business Masters graduates this summer entered a red-hot job market that belies growing caution about the economy. “Students have the power in their hands,” she says.
The top 3 hiring industries for the Rotterdam School are Consulting, Financial Services and Information Technology, broadly consistent with other schools. A recent shift has been an increasing focus on sustainability, as many students move into purpose-driven careers and shun some groups, such as B. Fossil fuel companies whose operations harm the environment or society.
“Now more than ever, business students are looking at companies based on their impact, their commitment to the environment and their values,” says Margot Lebourgeois, who graduated from MiM at HEC Paris this summer. She took sustainability-focused electives that reinforced her interest in responsible business practices. Today, Lebourgeois works for the French spirits manufacturer Pernod Ricard in Paris as a specialist in sustainability and responsibility.
Zoe McLoughlin, Executive Director of the Career Center at London Business School, says employers value MiM graduates for their strong business acumen, highly developed soft skills including adaptability, and their ability to work effectively with teams from diverse backgrounds in a globalized world.
McLoughlin has previously recruited for the Boston Consulting Group and says MiM graduates were typically hired at the same level as undergraduates but were promoted at a much faster rate. “They have that extra layer of knowledge, experience and brilliance,” she says.
But as recession fears mount, graduates cannot be complacent, warns Cathy Savage, senior manager of the UCD Careers Network at Dublin’s Smurfit Graduate School of Business.
“It’s still a competitive process, and if you’re not willing to do that, you won’t get a job,” Savage says. Although job postings generally exceed supply, she says some candidates have been “ghosted” by potential employers and have not received a response after applying.
“Some of the recruitment processes are pretty brutal, you have to go through maybe five, six, seven interviews,” says Savage, adding that students should start planning their applications early and ask alumni for support.
Some industries are retreating when it comes to recruiting, particularly in technology, says Maren Kaus, head of Career Services at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and Google’s parent Alphabet have all slowed hiring in some areas in the face of economic headwinds, but only after a hiring frenzy in recent years.
For their part, business schools offer a wide range of career services, including coaching, skills development workshops and networking opportunities. Increasingly, they are hosting more virtual recruitment events as these give students access to a wider range of employers than is possible on campus.
Additionally, there is a greater emphasis on lifelong development as alumni switched jobs more frequently amid the ‘Great Resignation’ when Covid prompted many to reassess their priorities. Jean-Amiel Jourdan, senior executive director of careers at HEC Paris, says career services are becoming “less transactional”: instead of worrying about that first job after graduation, HEC grants alumni access to career services throughout their professional lives .
The school has also shifted career development from the academic fringes to the core curricula, making workshops mandatory for all MiM candidates rather than optional. Ultimately, Jourdan is confident that such preparation will benefit graduates regardless of prevailing economic conditions. “Despite the possibility of a downturn, I’m very optimistic,” he says.