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To close compensation gaps and improve diversity in leadership positions, companies need to reconsider their campus hiring strategies to increase the representation of female and minority employees in their ranks. According to the Forté Foundation, 1 out of 3 female MBAs surveyed said they receive fewer opportunities for advancement and promotions compared with their male peers, and 30% reported working in a hostile office environment during their career. While most MBA students were white males in the 1980s, enrollment of racial minorities and women has risen sharply since then. Those groups, however, still make up less than 15% and 40%, respectively, of the current MBA classes at top business schools. One way to improve diversity, according to university administrators, is to encourage more women and minorities to earn the degree. But that isn’t a silver bullet for reversing inequity in the business world. Elissa Sangster, a former assistant dean at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business, warns that women and minorities get steered, at times, into lower-paying positions or are prompted to seek out smaller, boutique firms that may give them greater career flexibility but smaller salaries. She adds, “Recruiters from firms with few female or minority executives should discuss the support and mentorship prospective employees will receive to ensure they thrive. If you don’t have that conversation at the outset, you leave room for students to think the company doesn’t have a plan for them.”

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