Women MBAs trail behind men in status and pay beginning with first job

women mbaWomen who earn MBA degrees fall behind men in terms of salary and position beginning right after graduation, according to a new Catalyst report, "Pipeline's Broken Promise."

Despite the fact that over the past 15 years a record number of women have graduated with advanced professional degrees, they are not advancing at the same pace as men.
Catalyst studied thousands of MBA alumni in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Asia, and said in a statement:
Even after taking into account experience, industry, and region, the report found women start at lower levels than men, make on average $4,600 less in their initial jobs, and continue to be outpaced by men in rank and salary growth. Only when women begin their post-MBA career at mid-management or above do they achieve parity in position with men. However, this accounts for only 10 percent of the women and 19 percent of the men surveyed.

Men are twice as likely as women to hold CEO positions and women were over-represented in lower-level positions. The report found that men also are more likely to be satisfied with their careers.

Male MBAs who started out in entry-level jobs or one level higher advanced much more rapidly than women who started out at the same level. The only time there was no real difference in men's and women's career advancement was when they both started out at the mid-level or senior executive level right after getting an MBA.

The report offered suggestions and comments from CEOs and executives of major companies about the findings. Maureen A. McGuire, chief marketing officer of Bloomberg, L.P, said:
I was surprised that only when women start at mid-level and above do they keep pace with men. Guys seem ready for the first executive job incredibly quickly, whereas women seem to have a harder time getting it. Does this reflect the presumption that men are qualified and ready but women have to prove themselves first? Companies need to take care to make sure they're placing new hires based on qualifications, not presumptions.

James S. Turley, chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young LLP said:
When I hear someone say that the woman doesn't want that job promotion, I cringe. Most times they're wrong. Did she really say it? Or did someone say to her that she doesn't want it? There's a huge difference between asking "do you want this job" and "you don't really want that job, do you". Or, even worse, the question isn't even asked. It's a silent problem. Asking begins to address the problem and how we ask matters.
The study also looked at the impact of parenthood on MBA careers and found that even when considering only men and women who do not have children, men still come out ahead. When men and women were asked why they left their first post-MBA job, few said it was because of children (2% of women and 3% of men).
The main reasons for leaving the first job were faster career advancement (50% of men and 38% of women), more money/better benefits (38% of men and 26% of women), and a career change (29% of men and 27% of women). Women (25%) were more likely than men (16%) to leave that first job because of a difficult manager.
Rick Waugh, president and CEO of Scotiabank, was quoted in the report as saying that:
It's very important who your first or second supervisor is. Many times, that determines whether you're going to stay with that organization and what you're going to do. That first landing spot-whether you get coached, developed, mentored-or whether you get a bad manager casts the die and you won't stay. We need to put more focus on those first relationships.

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