Catalyst discovers a “broken pipeline”

Catalyst, a leading voice for women’s advancement in corporations since 1962, is starting to lose their patience. A report recently issued by them, entitled “Pipeline’s Broken Promise,” finds that – regardless of well-intentioned efforts within major corporations – women start out their corporate careers one step behind men and maintain that gap throughout their careers.

More specifically, the study finds that:

  • women lag their male counterparts from the first job onward, scoring lower positions and lower salaries in their first corporate jobs out of the starting gate;
  • these salary differences persist as women and men progress up the career ladder; and
  • these differences exist regardless of aspirational goals or parental status.

The study is based on interviews with over 4,000 women and men receiving MBAs from 26 leading business schools on three continents between 1996 and 2007, who are still working full-time in corporations. (Makes one wonder what the results would have been if they had interviewed some of the graduates who are no longer working in these large firms. Maybe some of them would be women who had grown fed up with this very situation?)

Click on this link to learn more about the research and to download the free report and a statistical appendix.

Womenable, for one, is happy to see that Catalyst is finally taking their gloves off a bit. Despite their best efforts – which have been invaluable in bringing attention and good research to the lack of advancement of women in the corporate world – only 14% of top executives in the world’s publicly-traded corporations are women, and only 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. Yes, one could certainly say that “inequality remains entrenched” in these halls of corporate power. A mild understatement to say the least. While not exactly biting the hand that feeds them, at least Catalyst is speaking truth to power with a bit more urgency and a tad more exasperation.