Women on the Job Need Advocates, Not Advice

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A recent study from Catalyst (www.catalyst.org), a nonprofit organization that works to increase business opportunities for women, revealed that being mentored before pursuing a first post-M.B.A. job results in higher positioning, higher compensation, and better advancement, but that men tend to benefit far more than women. It’s more advantageous for women to have the support of a sponsor, a senior-level professional advocating for a particular position within their company. The report also found that men’s mentors tend to be more senior in position and as a result were able to serve as sponsors simultaneously. The study, titled Mentoring: Necessary but Insufficient for Advancement, included these findings:

Men with mentors had starting salaries in their first post-M.B.A., jobs that were, on average,
$9,260 higher than the  starting salaries of women with mentors.

Men received more promotions than women, and their promotions came with
greater salary increases.
Men received 21% more in compensation per promotion while women’s compensation
increased by only 2% per promotion.

High-potential women and men with senior-level mentors—those in a position to
provide sponsorship—advanced further and earned more than those with less senior mentors,
pointing to the need for career support from people with clout. Sponsorship is not a silver bullet, however. Men with senior-level mentors still had greater salary increases than women with senior-level mentors.

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