Female CEOs are competitively paid, but greatly outnumbered

Of the 340 companies included in the analysis, only 19 were run by women

The few women who are CEOs of the largest U.S. companies typically make more money than their male counterparts but aren’t close to the top of the leaderboard for pay packages.

The median pay package for female CEOs in the 2018 fiscal year was $12.7 million, compared with $11.2 million for men, according to data analyzed by Equilar for The Associated Press. That reflects a raise of $680,000 for the same group of female CEOs from a year before, versus a raise of $540,000 for the men. Median means half were larger, and half were smaller.

Still, of the 340 companies included in the analysis, only 19 were run by women. Plus, there is not a single woman on the overall list of the top 20 most highly paid CEOs. The top earner there — Discovery CEO David Zaslav — earned a pay package worth almost six times that of the most highly paid female CEO — Mary Barra of General Motors. She ranks 30th on the list overall.

READ MORE: Women have ‘legitimate claims’ for justice, equality: Pope

Barra tops the list of female CEOs with a pay package valued at nearly $21.9 million, unchanged from the prior year. Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson came in second with a compensation valued at $21.5 million, up 7% from the prior year. And General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic rounded out the top three with a compensation package worth $20.7 million.

The AP’s CEO compensation study, conducted by Equilar, includes pay data for 340 executives at S&P 500 companies who have served at least two full consecutive fiscal years at their respective companies and filed proxy statements during the traditional period of Jan. 1 to April 30.

While women enter U.S. companies at roughly the same rate as men, experts say their ranks grow thinner at each step up the corporate ladder. There are a number of reasons for this, including unconscious bias, lack of mentorship, people hiring in their own image and more. This leaves few women in the pipeline to take the top seat when the time comes.

Catalyst, a non-profit organization that focuses on women in business, said that only three times in history has a woman succeeded another woman as chief executive at a public traded company.

“The rarity of these women, they are so exceptional,” said Alison Cook, a professor of management at Utah State University who researches gender and diversity in the workplace. “Not that some of these men aren’t exceptional also … but these women have to be so incredible to have made it this far.”

READ MORE: France takes torch passed by Canada, will focus on gender equality at G7 summit

Comparing men’s pay to women’s as a group is a bit unfair, statistically speaking. The sample size is much smaller for women so any change among that group has an outsized impact.

Lorraine Hariton, CEO of Catalyst, said that while the numbers appear discouraging year over year, gains are being made in the long run.

Women are becoming slowly more prevalent in CEO roles and pay is gradually becoming more commensurate. For example, the recently released list of Fortune 500 companies includes more women than ever before, 33, but largely due to appointments made in the past 12 months, according to Fortune magazine. And women are also incrementally becoming more common on the boards of companies, which helps usher in more women to executive leadership.

“It’s a gradual trend in the right direction but much slower than what we would like to see.” Hariton said.

Hariton and Cook also both agree that the recent #metoo movement has helped raise awareness of the issue and brought more men into the conversation, in some cases spurring companies to look more closely and address their own practices.

Additionally, Hariton said research shows consumers increasingly expect companies and CEOs to act on environmental and social issues, including diversity.

“Companies need to address this not just because it is the right thing to do but to remain competitive,” Hariton said. “Consumers are demanding it.”

Sarah Skidmore Sell, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Summer students for Potato House Society a first

The jobs were made possible by several grants

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend about 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

100 Mile RCMP seek help in stolen credit card case

Card was used at multiple locations in 100 Mile House

Graduates invited to participate in free, mini photo shoots May 27-28

The Williams Lake Dry Grad Committee is promoting an all inclusive, mini photo shoot

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Williams Lake Tribune continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

Most Read