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Shedding light on the gender gap for Canada's MBA graduates

Women have made significant strides in the workplace in recent decades, of course; just how far we still have to go as a culture in closing the gender gap isn't always as clear. A new study out of non-profit Catalyst sheds light on one aspect of that gender gap: what happens to Canada's MBA graduates. The news is concerning.

"Across job settings, women in Canada fare worse than men from the start. Women working in Canada each made $8,167 less than men in their first post-MBA job," the report finds. Moreover, "at 72 per cent, the majority of women started out in an entry level position, compared to just 58 per cent of men."

That gap persists among MBA graduates who are assessed to have high potential. Catalyst research also examined the drivers that lead to post-MBA success—who advances rapidly, and attains the most senior positions. Among the factors that lead to this success are being given critical work early on (generally understood as work with direct profit and loss impacts) or international travel opportunities. On both counts, male MBA graduates are given more opportunities than their female counterparts. For instance, of this so-called "high potential" cohort, 29 per cent of men and 19 per cent of women were given an international assignment.

One consequence of this: "women in Canada were more than twice as likely as men to choose a non-corporate employer following completion of their MBA." The report finds that "corporate Canada is experiencing a talent drain, especially among women, into non-corporate firms at rates higher than in other regions around the world."

Which is why, also, the report concludes with this: "These findings profile a wake-up call for Canadian organizations: the time to act is now."

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: High Potential Employees in the Pipeline: Maximing the Talent Pool in Canadian Organizations
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