‘Best and brightest’ women face gaps in pay, opportunity

Gender pay gap of $8,167 for first post-MBA job: Report

Canadian women MBA grads are being short-changed by gender and geography, signaling important long-term consequences for corporate Canada, according to a report from Catalyst, a non-profit organization focused on expanding opportunities for women and business.

High-potential women earn $8,167 less than men in their first post-MBA jobs, start out at a lower job level and are offered fewer career-accelerating work experiences and international postings.

High-potential women are also twice as likely as men to choose a non-corporate job post-MBA, pursuing public and non-profit sector opportunities instead, said High-Potential Employees in the Pipeline: Maximizing the Talent Pool in Canadian Organizations.

Canadian MBA grads of both genders are twice as likely to choose this path compared to grads from other global regions. Those who go corporate receive fewer international assignments than their counterparts in Europe and Asia, with women receiving the fewest of these opportunities (19 per cent compared to 29 per cent of men).

“Corporate Canada is losing high-potential women to non-corporate sectors at much higher rates than other regions in the world. Canadian companies competing in a globalized marketplace should take note and consider their recruiting, retention and talent development strategies,” said Alex Johnston, executive director at Catalyst Canada. “Canadian businesses and the Canadian economy need to tap the full talent pool for smart talented people to strengthen our country’s economic future and to stay competitive.”

Other key findings of the report:

•High-potential women were more likely to start their careers in an entry-level position (72 per cent of women versus 58 per cent of men).

•High-potential women received fewer high-visibility projects and mission-critical roles or “hot jobs” that predict advancement when compared to men.

Canadian high-potential women were more likely than men to report having no knowledge of international product markets (23 per cent of women versus nine per cent of men) or international labour markets (21 per cent of women versus nine per cent of men).

•For Canadians, the preference for non-corporate settings grows over time, from 11 per cent at first post-MBA job to 15 per cent at their current position in 2013.

•The rate of attrition from the corporate sector is much higher among women than men (29 per cent women versus 10 per cent men).

“It can be difficult to attract top talent back, once they enter the non-corporate sector,” said Johnston. “Canadian organizations need to focus on attracting and retaining high-potential women and giving them opportunities to develop the global business competencies that are so important to strengthening Canada’s economic performance.”

High-Potential Employees in the Pipeline is part of a longitudinal study on high-potential talent who graduated from MBA programs at 26 leading business schools in Asia, Canada, Europe and the United States. The findings are based on data from 1,574 high-potential employees in Canada who were working in Canada when surveyed in 2007, 2010, 2011 or 2013.

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