people in a bubbleAccording to a new report by the non-profit group Catalyst, women worldwide are hindered from advancing in their careers because of the unequal access to “hot” —high visibility— jobs and international experience. The report found that, upon completing graduate school, women start at lower-level jobs and receive less pay than men. This gender gap only gets wider as women’s careers progress.

“There are certain of those on-the-job experiences that really predict advancement, and they are high visibility projects, having mission-critical roles and getting international experience,” said Christine Silva, lead author of the study and the senior director of research at Catalyst. “The main finding here is that women get fewer of all of these critical experiences than men do.”

The findings come from online surveys of 1,660 high-potential alumni who graduated from business school between 1996 and 2007. The graduates — both men and women — were from Asia, Canada, Europe and the U.S. They are part of a long-term study to understand career paths from the classroom to the boardroom and what is most likely to close the gender gap.

Other findings include:

  • Although men and women worked on a similar number of projects, those led by males were twice the size of those led by women.
  • For those willing to relocate for their careers, 35 percent of men, compared to 26 percent of women, landed overseas jobs.

“Women seem to be doing all the right things with those strategies but men get a bigger payoff from them,” she added. “It is important to get into these big roles that can help to close the gap.”

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, women make up nearly half of the nation’s workforce, yet they earned only 77 cents for each dollar earned by a man in 2011. This created a wage gap of 23 percent. Women earned less than men in nearly every occupation.

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