Inequality: Men still earn more than women after an MBA

Male MBA graduates are still better off financially than women. According to figures compiled by the Forté Foundation, men earn 28 per cent more than women despite having the same qualification. The gender pay gap that existed before widened even further after the MBA degree.


The online survey amongst 900 male and female MBA alumni is not encouraging for women. Females generally earned less than men in their last pre-MBA job already but then the pay gap does not improve post MBA.  On average, women earn three per cent less than their male counterparts pre-MBA, and then the gap widens to ten per cent for their first post-MBA position, and 28 per cent for their current compensation, adjusted for years of experience.  The research data still showed a positive return on investment from the MBA with a 63 per cent salary bump for women and 76 per cent for men from the last pre-MBA job to the first post-MBA role. 

In general the survey concluded that women with an MBA don’t advance to the same level as men, have fewer direct reports, and less job satisfaction. Around 40 per cent of respondents, primarily women, said they’ve experienced a gender pay gap.

“It’s encouraging to see an MBA provides greater economic mobility for women and minorities and narrows the pay gap for minorities in their first job post MBA,” said Elissa Sangster, CEO Forté Foundation, “but the whopping gender pay gap and income disparity for women and minorities needs to be addressed, and soon.”

“While some salary disparity can be explained by the job functions women choose, there is likely unconscious bias and other factors at play,” Sangster added. "When we asked women MBAs how they intend to address the gender pay gap they’ve experienced, it’s more common for them to leave the company rather than speak about it with their manager, human resources or company leadership. This is a wake-up call – companies need to take proactive steps to lessen the pay gap, or risk losing highly skilled women employees."