Mentors Mean More to Men Than Women

Although having a mentor is beneficial for both genders, it is more beneficial for men, according to the latest study from Catalyst, a nonprofit research organization working on behalf of women in business.

Catalyst surveyed 4,000 graduates from top MBA programs around the world in 2008; the participants had to have graduated between 1996 and 2007.The survey found that men with mentors are placed into higher-level jobs faster than women with mentors, and are compensated more as well.  The cause of this being that people tend to have mentors who are similar to themselves; therefore, men would be mentored by men, and women by women.  The male mentors are typically higher on the corporate ladder than female mentors, which mean they have more clout and influence when it comes to deciding who to promote.   

The study also found that men who had a mentor were 93% more likely to be placed at mid-manager level or above than men without a mentor.  Yet women with a mentor increased their odds of being placed at mid-manager or above by 56% more than women without a mentor.

Compensation benefits were substantially different, according to the study:

  • Men who had a mentor received $9,260 more in their first post-MBA job than women with a mentor.
  • Men with a mentor were paid $6,726 more than men without a mentor.
  • Mentoring made less of an impact on women’s compensation. Women with a mentor were paid $661 more than women without a mentor.

The takeaway lesson Catalyst offers is that mentors must be both highly placed in the organization and actively advocating on their mentee’s behalf to have an impact.