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Women Still Experience Inequities at Every Career Stage

February 19, 2010

Come on, still? Catalyst’s latest global report on MBA grads shows that women still lag behind men from their first job out of college. Perhaps it’s just another reason to go for that accounting degree?

Catalyst, a nonprofit that helps build inclusive workplaces and expand opportunities for women and business released Pipeline’s Broken Promise, a new report that looks at high potential graduates from top businesses schools around the world. And what do you know, the study revealed “that the assertion that women advance in compensation and level at the same pace as men is overstated and, in many cases, completely wrong.”


The report is part of a larger, ongoing study of thousands of women and men MBA alumni in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. Despite 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.

It’s only when women begin their post-MBA career at mid-management or above do they achieve parity in position with men – however, this only accounts for 10 percent of the women and 19 percent of the men surveyed.

“'Give it time’ has run its course,” said Irene Lang, president and chief executive of Catalyst. “In a world where women comprise 40 percent of the global workforce and are earning advanced professional degrees in record numbers – even surpassing men in many cases – gender inequity is a waste. Companies without parity for women at all levels are unsustainable. Smart leaders will act now or risk falling behind.”

So what can be done?

Chiefs from major companies offer these nuggets of insight:
•    Don’t assume that the playing field has been leveled.
•    Redesign systems to correct early inequities.
•    Collect and review salary growth metrics.
•    Build in checks and balances against unconscious bias.
•    Make assignments based on qualifications, not presumptions.

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