Women MBA grads on the rise, but the road to gender parity is still long
- On International Women's Day, The Association of MBAs (AMBA) announced an increase in the number of women enrolling in their accredited programs worldwide, up from 32% in 2013 to 36% in 2017, but the group recognized that more work needs to be done to boost its numbers.
- AMBA's data showed geographic differences; in China and Hong Kong, 48% of MBA enrollees were women in 2017, while women only comprised 16% of enrollees in India in the same year. Age may also be a factor, according to AMBA. The group reported that more women than men graduated with an MBA between ages 25 and 29, and it noted that the opposite was true of 35- to 44-year-old students. The data suggest that women are freer to enroll in such programs when they are younger, AMBA said, and that more might be done to encourage women to resume their studies later in their career.
- Slightly more men than women surveyed said they expect to see a salary increase of least 50% within three years following completion of an MBA program, AMBA said. According to the survey, the majority of MBA-degree holders, regardless of gender, agreed they feel more confident and valuable to the business community as a result of their degree.
Some employers have democratized access to college courses in the workplace as the need to upskill workers becomes more urgent. In an effort attract and retain talent, some have offered free- to low-cost programs — once reserved for top-tier management — to workers seeking advanced degrees in valuable skill sets. On the flip side, many organizations have relaxed degree requirements and opted for non-traditional credentials to source the best talent from the available hiring pool.
Though slightly more women advanced into CEO spots in 2018 compared to 2017, not one of this year's S&P 100 employers scored higher than 71% on a gender equality rating scale, according to an Equileap report. Some experts believe women won't gain leadership parity for more than 50 years unless leaders take further action. Opportunities for career advancement and higher learning at work may help employers attract and retain more talented female hires — perhaps even guiding more of them into the C-suite in the future.
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