According to the survey, released this week by Catalyst, the women's advocacy group, female Canadian MBAs earn $8,167 less than men in their first MBA Jobs after graduation.
The report also says that female Canadian MBAs start out at a lower career level and are offered fewer career-accelerating work experiences and international postings.
The pay gap is far larger in Canada than internationally, where Catalyst says female MBA graduates earn $4,600 less on average in their first jobs.
The report cites significant gender disparity in opportunities for female MBAs at a time when females are vastly underrepresented at business schools across the globe. Although there is no suggestion that MBA programs favour male candidates, gender diversity remains stubbornly low world-wide.
In Canada, a staggering 72 per cent of "high potential" women are likely to start their careers in an entry-level position, compared with 58 per cent of men, according to the report.
Catalyst also revealed that female MBAs had fewer high-visibility projects and "mission critical roles" that predict career advancement when compared to men, and women in Canada received fewer international assignments than men or graduates in Europe and Asia.
In Canada, women were more than twice as likely as men to take non-corporate tracks at some point in their careers, whether they exclusively took non-corporate tracks or not post-MBA.
Catalyst has been tracking and reporting on 10,000 international MBA graduates for the past six years.
"In this battle to attract the best and the brightest, it is critical that organizations understand the women and men at the top of the talent pool," the report says, before urging organizations to "recruit and retain high-potential women and men throughout the pipeline".
The survey says that 29 per cent of male MBAs received international assignments compared to 19 per cent of women, while 94 per cent of men said they had opportunities for extensive international travel without relocation compared to 79 per cent of women.
Canadian MBAs were also more than twice as likely as their counterparts in other regions of the world to choose a non-corporate career path immediately after finishing an MBA. Within Canada, women took this route more than twice as often as men.
BusinessBecause reported last month that just four of the 33 new executives appointed this year in the FTSE 100 were female. Figures from Cranfield School of Management show that the UK’s biggest firms are still failing to hire women for executive roles.
The figures released by Catalyst add weight to the argument that females are underrepresented at business school, as well as at the top of the MBA careers ladder. Just 4 per cent of CEOs in Fortune 1000 companies are female, and just 16 per cent of board members in that index are women.
A report released in August this year showed that the 2010-11 cohort for the top ten non-US MBA programs comprised of just 30.3 per cent females.
These figures contrast starky with some US-based business schools. At Georgia State University, J. Mack Robinson College of Business, 62 per cent of last year’s cohort was female.
Last year, none of the top-ranking business schools in the UK had an equal or majority of female MBAs compared to males.
Although gender diversity could be higher in some MBA programs, these figures contrast with the record numbers of women who are taking the GMAT.
According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), last year a recording 122,843 GMAT tests were taken by women – compared with 106,700 in 2011. Women now represent 43 per cent of total GMAT tests taken, and in China, 65 per cent of the country’s test takers were female.
The low percentage of female MBA students reflects the amount of female deans at the world’s top business schools: just 18 per cent of AACSB-accredited b-schools have female deans.
Alex Johnston, Executive Director of Catalyst Canada, said in an interview that the pay gap signals a “huge red flag”. Alex continued: “You don’t think a 28-year-old is looking at organizations and seeing if she sees herself reflected in those organizations?
“If she doesn’t, her choices will be impacted. As a business leader I would be worried about the health of my organization today.
“But I would also be concerned about recruiting young graduates in the numbers I want to recruit them, because they’re looking at organizations and saying, ‘Do they reflect my values, do I see myself building a career there?’”