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Bernice Ledbetter Describes How Earning MBA Can Help Long-Term Pay Equity for Women in Top MBA

A recent study from the Forte Foundation, a women’s leadership organization, found that earning an MBA can boost pay for women and minorities in their first post-MBA job by 57 percent or more. 

Previous Forte research showed that women who obtain their MBA see a 55 to 65 percent increase compared to their pre-MBA earnings, within five years of graduating. Despite these early-career benefits of an MBA, Forte noted that pay gaps by gender and race tend to emerge and widen later in women’s careers. 

Bernice Ledbetter, Director of the Center for Women in Leadership and Practitioner of Organization Theory and Management at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, says it’s no secret that women face greater challenges in obtaining higher wages and upward mobility in their careers due to persistent gender biases and prejudices. 

Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive strategy because there is no individual approach to equalizing pay for women in the workplace.

Responsibility can’t land solely on women 

For certain, the primary responsibility to drive change should not fall solely on women and minorities. Senior management plays a crucial role in making compensation fair by implementing proactive measures to ensure equity.  

Senior managers should conduct regular pay audits to identify and rectify gender pay gaps within the organization and establish transparent salary bands and criteria based on skills, experience, and qualifications. Implementing policies that promote pay negotiation training and eliminate salary history inquiries can also help mitigate the impact of gender biases.  

Consider early-career MBA training 

Early career training provides numerous benefits including gaining essential skills, better access to “first-rung” or early career opportunities, accelerating professional growth, and enhancing job prospects by establishing strong, long-term, foundational skills.  

Earning an MBA early in your career can result in higher starting salaries and increased earning potential over the long term. Delaying an MBA can cost women in pay significantly with less likelihood of making up that loss over the course of your careers.  

Pursuing a full-time MBA is the fastest route to a graduate business degree. However, a part-time MBA can give women options to accelerate or reduce course loads depending on work and family obligations. Knowing that the historic unemployment rate in the US is nearly 30% lower for those with a master’s versus bachelor’s degree, if a job offer is rescinded or a woman is laid off, it’s more likely she will be hired quickly if she is pursuing or has completed an MBA.  

Read the full article in Top MBA.