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by Vault Education Editors | December 15, 2010


The impact of mentoring relationships can be measured not only in terms of salary but by rungs climbed on a ladder. This is why mentors and sponsors should mind the gender gap, because male MBA protégés are reaping more money and higher positions than their female counterparts, according to Mentoring: Necessary but Insufficient for Advancement, a new study by Catalyst.

Surveying 4000 MBA graduates, the study found that "high potential" mentored men profit from better starting pay and higher initial placement, starting with the first job. And, let's not forget, more promotions and better raises over time, too. Some stats to consider:

· Men who had a mentor received $9,260 more in their first post-MBA job than women with a mentor

· Mentored men were 93 percent more likely to be placed at mid-manager level or above than non-mentored men. Mentored women were only 56 percent more likely than non-mentored women.

· Men with a mentor were paid $6,726 more than men without a mentor. Women with a mentor were paid only $661 more than women without one.

“Corporate America needs to get ‘unstuck’ when it comes to advancing women to leadership,” said Ilene H. Lang, Catalyst President & Chief Executive Officer [in a statement]. “This is our fifth report where the annual change in female leadership remained flat. If this trend line represented a patient's pulse—she'd be dead.”

Men, of course, outnumber women in senior-level and C-level positions. It's also true that people, true to our predictable mass behavior, like to seek out and associate with similar people, as is fully evidenced by this thing called the internet and cyberbalkanization. So women choose other women as mentors and men choose men mentors… and you know the outcome: advantage men.

But more people in higher places isn't the entire explanation. "Men's mentors were more senior than women's even after controlling for their own job level," the study says. Moreover, women are more likely to let their mentoring relationships wither, despite the disadvantage of already starting from behind.

So what must be done to help narrow the male-female mentoring gap? A good place to start would be by differentiating between mentors and sponsors. In short, mentors advise, sponsors promote. Women need to ramp up their efforts to locate and form sponsored relationships with senior-level leadership. Management, more so, must be accountable for this inequality and, as a whole, actively support and promote sponsorship opportunities. It's not just a moral concern; neglecting and losing high potential employees can also be bad for the bottom line.


[Mentoring: Necessary But Insufficient for Advancement] 

[Via Forbes]


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Filed Under: Education|Grad School

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