Career progress and career barriers: Women MBA graduates in Canada and the UK

Ruth Simpson, Jane Sturges, Adrian Woods, Yochanan Altman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the career progress of female MBA graduates in Canada and the UK and the nature of career barriers experienced in each context. Results suggest that while Canadian women have similar career profiles to men, women in the UK lag behind their male counterparts after graduation from the course. At the same time, UK women encounter more intractable career barriers in the form of negative attitudes and prejudice. A model of the “MBA effect” is proposed in terms of how the qualification may impact on career barriers. This incorporates three different types of barriers which are seen to operate at the individual level (person centred barriers) and at the intermediate/organizational level (organizational culture and attitudes, corporate practices) as well as, at the macro level, the impact of legislative frameworks. Results from the UK and Canadian surveys are discussed in relation to this model and in the context of feminist theory and women in management literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-477
Number of pages19
JournalCareer Development International
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Canada
  • Career development
  • Careers
  • Master of business administration
  • United Kingdom
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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