Catalyst: Women still experience inequities at every career stage
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Women lag behind men in job level and salary
starting from their first post-business school position and do not catch up,
according to Catalyst’s "Pipeline's Broken Promise," a report examining
high-potential graduates from top business schools around the world. The assertion
that women advance in compensation and level at the same pace as men is
overstated, and in many cases completely wrong, according to the study.
The report, part of a broad, ongoing study of
thousands of female and male MBA alumni in the United States, Canada, Europe
and Asia, provides a global analysis of the pace of progress for these high
potential employees. Even after considering 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
Only when women begin their post-MBA career at
mid-management or above do they achieve parity in position with men, Catalyst
found. However, this experience accounts for only 10 percent of the women and
19 percent of the men surveyed.
"'Give it time,' has run its course,"
said Ilene H. Lange, president and CEO, Catalyst, a nonprofit membership
organization working globally with businesses and the professions to build
inclusive workplaces and expand opportunities for women and business. "In
a world where women comprise 40 percent of the global workforce and are earning
advanced and 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
Men were twice as likely as women to hold CEO or
senior executive positions and less likely to be at lower levels, where women
were overrepresented. Parenthood and level of aspiration did not explain the
results, the report found. Catalyst's findings held when considering women and
men without children, as well as those who aspired to senior leadership
Men, in general, were found to be more satisfied
with their careers overall than women. Thus, despite well-intentioned programs,
companies around the globe have neglected to develop talented women and failed
to build meritocracies, the report concluded.
CEOs and executives from major companies offered
insights and suggestions on the study’s findings throughout the report. Among
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.
Between Fall 2007 and Spring 2008, Catalyst
conducted an online survey of alumni who graduated between 1996 and 2007 from
MBA programs at 26 leading business schools in Asia, Canada, Europe and the
United States. Report findings draw from the 4,143 respondents who completed
full-time MBA programs and worked full-time in companies or firms at the time
of the survey.
The study is part of "The
Promise of Future Leadership: A Research Program on Highly Talented Employees
in the Pipeline," a longitudinal study on high-potential talent. For more information visit www.catalyst.org.