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女性MBA越来越多,但同工同酬依然遥远

Elizabeth G. Olson 2011年04月29日

就读商学院的女性越来越多,且入学年龄越来越小。但这个学位能给女性带来多大好处呢?

    如今,越来越多的女性正在获得商学硕士学位,且年龄越来越小。但是,即便取得这类学位,女性能否得到更多报酬,目前并不明确。毕竟,即便拥有相同的商学学位和工作经验,男性与女性之间,依然存在工资差距。

    美国管理专业研究生入学考试委员会(GMAC)最新公布的数据显示,去年,参加管理专业研究生入学考试(GMAT)的女性人数约为10.6万人,创历史最高纪录。并且在2009年6月至2010年期间,大部分考生的年龄均在30岁以下。GMAT是工商管理学硕士(MBA)课程及其他商学研究生课程的标准入学考试,由GMAC主办。

    另据GMAC 在2011年公布的报告显示,除MBA外,攻读金融与会计等其他商学硕士学位的女性人数也有所增加。

    许多年轻女性选择全日制学习,比如29岁的杰西卡• 迪琳。大学毕业后,她在房利美(Fannie Mae)与第一资本银行(Capital One Bank)工作了七年。明年,她即将从乔治城大学麦克多诺商学院(Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business)毕业。

    在谈到攻读MBA的决定时,她表示:“你不得不考虑投资回报。因为商学院的学费高昂,所以你希望尽早在职场上获得回报。”

    今年六月,阿莱丽•迪恩将从西北大学凯洛格管理学院(Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management)毕业。她之所以选择MBA,一方面是希望拓展自己的技能,同时也希望拥有更多的就业选择机会。她在国防工业巨头洛克希德马丁公司(Lockheed Martin)工作了五年多,一直从事分析师工作,但她希望有机会挑战其他职业。

    “我要利用这个机会,改变自己的职业发展方向,”迪恩说。她今年30岁,计划毕业后从事市场营销与品牌顾问的工作。

    在过去几年内,大批女性进入医学院和法学院就读,现在她们又转而选择商学院。部分原因是由于商学院注意到女性学生短缺,加大了对女生的招生力度。据美国联邦数据显示,目前,超过1/3的MBA学位获得者为女性,在过去十年里,这一比例大幅增加。

高昂的成本,并不理想的回报

    顶级商学院的学费可高达10万美元,甚至更高。对高昂的学费和欠债的担忧,是影响女性选择攻读MBA学位的主要因素。而GMAC的调查结果显示,男性最大的担忧,则是学位能带来什么样的实际收益,或者是就业前景。金融或会计等其他商务类学位的学费较为便宜,约2/3的此类学位被授予女性。

    尽管商学院的女性人数不断增加,但她们毕业后的就业前景并不乐观。GMAC统计结果显示,去年的MBA毕业生中,女性获得的工作机会仅为男性的一半,而她们提交的工作申请却比男性多出20%。

    获得MBA学位后的回报并没有想象中的美好。GMAC调查发现,2010年,与取得学位之前相比,女性MBA毕业生的平均收入增加了51%,而男性的收入则增加了54%。换句话说,女性获得MBA学位后的第一份工作,平均薪酬为7.4万美元,而男性则为7.75万美元。

    Catalyst是一家专门从事商界女性职业发展研究的机构。它去年公布的报告显示,在获得MBA学位后的第一份工作中,女性收入比男性低4,600美元。

    而南希•M•卡特与克里斯汀•席尔瓦所做的研究结果显示,这种同工不同酬的现象从第一份工作开始就已经存在了,而在将职位等级、行业、生育和职业前景等因素考虑在内后,这种差距在不断扩大。

    妇女政策研究所(Institute of Women's Policy Research)近期公布的有关同酬日(4月12日)的数据显示,即便在首席执行官职位上,女性每周的工资收入也仅为男性的72%。该研究所根据美国劳工统计局(Bureau of Labor Statistics)提供的数据,同时对平均周薪进行分析发现,不管是何种教育背景,111个职业中的107个职业存在同工不同酬现象。

性别不同,目标也不同?

    GMAC对4万名有意报考商学院的学生进行了调查。该委员会管理教育部主任格雷戈•舍恩菲尔德负责对调查进行监督。他表示,通常情况下,在决定就读商学院时,女性希望掌握的技能与男性有所不同。

    他说:“学生在确定需要优先掌握的技能时,性别起着关键作用。”

    GMAC对有意申请入学的学生进行调查后发现,男性希望能够更加灵活地应对技术和操作方面的挑战,而女性则更希望学习管理技能。

    以迪恩为例,她之所以选择凯洛格管理学院,是因为它更注重团队合作,所以“每个班级将被分成不同小组,而我必须考虑如何与各小组开展合作。”

    51%的女性MBA申请者在接受GMAC调查时表示,持有专业学历非常关键。但也有58%的女性表示,她们攻读MBA学位,是为了获得成就感和个人满足感。有50%的女性攻读商学硕士的主要原因,是要保持自己的竞争力。

    迪琳说:“自信对我来说,是非常重要的。”她之所以决定攻读MBA,是因为在第一资本召开的一次收益电话会议中,她对于财务细节了解不多。“所以,我想在我的名字后面也能加上MBA这3个字母。”

    乔治城商学院教授凯瑟琳•汀斯利认为,尽早就读商学院,可以帮助提高女性在职场中的地位。“这将增加商界女性的数量,因为她们可以请产假,而且她们重新回到职场的可能性也更大,因为工作在她们的生活中所占的分量更重。”

    像杰西卡•迪琳一样,对于许多女性来说,在她们做出攻读MBA的决定时,组建家庭的计划也是她们考虑的一部分。

    迪琳将在今年夏天结婚,她说:“我知道自己已经拥有许多方面的工作经验。我希望有一天我能有自己的家庭,我当时以为那是永远不可能的。我曾经甚至想放弃攻读MBA。”

    她认为,取得MBA可以让她未来的职业发展更加灵活。

    “如果我想打破传统的就业选择,”她说道,“比如,如果我想自己创业,我就可以向一帮专家——我的老同学、教授和校友等等——寻求帮助。”

    翻译:刘进龙

    More women than ever are earning graduate business degrees, and at younger ages than ever before. But it's unclear whether these women are gaining much from the degree, with persistent wage gaps between men and women who have the same business credentials and work experience.

    Last year, almost 106,000 women -- the highest number ever -- took the GMAT, the standard admissions test for entry to MBA programs and other business graduate programs, according to the latest figures from the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), which owns the test. And the majority of test-takers between June 2009 and 2010 were 30 years old or younger.

    In addition to MBAs, more women are pursuing graduate business degrees in disciplines like finance and accounting, GMAC found in its 2011 report.

    Many of the younger female students are pursuing degrees full-time, such as Jessica Dillon, 29, who worked for seven years after college, at Fannie Mae and Capital One Bank (COF). She will graduate from Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business next year.

    "You have to think about your return on investment," she says of her decision to earn an MBA. "Business school is expensive and you want to see that return at an earlier point in your career.

    Arielle Deane, who is graduating in June from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, says opting for an MBA was a way to expand her skills and also to avoid pigeonholing her career. She had worked for more than five years as an analyst at defense industry giant Lockheed Martin, and wanted to explore other career possibilities.

    "This is an opportunity to change the trajectory of my career," says Deane, 30, who is planning to start a job at a marketing and branding consultancy after graduation.

    Women have largely flocked to medical and law schools in greater numbers over the past few years, but they are now turning to business school as well in part because business schools are mindful of the shortage of women students and are recruiting them more aggressively than they have before. Women now make up more than one-third of all MBA recipients, according to federal data -- up substantially in the past decade.

High costs and less than stellar payoff

    Concerns about the steep cost of a degree -- which can run $100,000 or more for a top business school -- and going into debt have been top factors in women's reluctance to enroll in an MBA program. In contrast, the main concern for men is the outcome, or job prospects, following a degree, according to GMAC. Other business degrees such as finance or accounting are a more affordable option, and nearly two-thirds of these degrees are awarded to women.

    Despite their growing numbers, all is not rosy for female business graduates entering the working world. Last year, women MBA graduates received half the job offers -- one versus two, on average -- of their male counterparts, despite sending out 20% more applications, according to GMAC.

    And the payoff from the degree is not always stellar. While 2010 female MBA graduates told GMAC's researchers that they earned, on average, 51% more than their pre-degree salary, men experienced a 54% increase. That translates into a median salary for women of $74,000 for their first post-business degree job versus men who earned $77,500, according to the council's findings.

    A report last year by Catalyst, an organization that studies female advancement in business, found that a woman in her first post-MBA job made $4,600 less than a man in the same type of job.

    More significantly, Catalyst found that unequal pay starts with the first job, and widens over time, even after accounting for job level, industry, child bearing and career aspirations, according to the results of the study by authors Nancy M. Carter and Christine Silva.

    Even among chief executive officers, women make just over 72% of what male counterparts earn in weekly salary, according to data recently released by The Institute for Women's Policy Research to coincide with Equal Pay Day (April 12). The wage differences exist across 107 of 111 occupations, regardless of education, according to the institute, which based its conclusions on an analysis of median weekly wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Different genders, different goals?

    Women often seek to acquire different skills than men when they decide to go to grad school for business, says Gregg Schoenfeld, GMAC's director of management education, who oversaw the council's survey of 40,000 prospective business school students.

    "Gender plays a key role in determining people's priorities and the sets of skills they want to gain most from their education," he says.

    GMAC's prospective students report found that men wanted to become more adept at handling technical and operational challenges while women were more likely to say they wanted to develop their management skills.

    Deane, for example, says she choose the Kellogg program because it emphasized teamwork, so "there's a different team for every class and I have to think about how I can collaborate with each group."

    Having the professional credential was critical to 51% of women MBA candidates surveyed by GMAC. But even more women -- 58% -- said they also were seeking the achievement and personal satisfaction that came from such a degree. And 50% of women listed remaining marketable and competitive as the prime reason for seeking a graduate business degree.

    "Confidence was a big piece of it for me," says Dillon, who set her sights on a graduate business degree during a Capital One earnings call where she did not understand all the financial details. "And I wanted to have those three initials behind my name."

    Attending business school earlier will help women to bolster their place in the workforce, says Catherine Tinsley, a professor at Georgetown's business school. "It will increase the number of women who stay in the business world because they will be able to take off time for child bearing, and they are more likely to return because work is a stronger part of their identity."

    For women like Jessica Dillon, plans to raise a family played a part in her decision to start working on an MBA when she did.

    "I knew I already had a diversity of work experience," says Dillon, who is engaged to be married this summer. "And I wanted a family one day, and I knew that it isn't possible forever. I wanted to get my MBA out of the way."

    The graduate business degree, she says, will give her future career some flexibility.

    "If I want to step out of the traditional workforce," she says, "I have an arsenal of experts -- my fellow students, professors and alums -- that I can call on if I want to, for example, start a new business."

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