Women CEOs still a rarity, but pay tops that of men

Female CEOs remain scarce at the biggest publicly traded companies but those who hold the top job receive pay competitive with male peers. Women make up only 5 percent...

Female CEOs remain scarce at the biggest publicly traded companies but those who hold the top job receive pay competitive with male peers.

Women make up only 5 percent of the CEO ranks at S&P 500 companies. Yet median compensation for a female CEO was valued at $13.5 million for the 2017 fiscal year, versus $11.5 million for their male counterparts, according to an analysis by executive data firm Equilar done for The Associated Press.

Topping the list of highest-paid female CEOs is Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, whose compensation was $25.9 million. Debra Cafaro, CEO of real estate investment trust Ventas came in second at $25.3 million. And Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, wrapped up the top three at $21.9 million.

Median pay for female CEOs rose 15.4 percent from the prior year, while for men it increased 8.2 percent. But Nooyi, the top paid female CEO, didn’t even crack the top 10 list overall. She’s number 18.

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Iceland has topped the World Economic Forum’s report on gender parity for nine consecutive years. It’s a hard won battle in a country with a long legacy of women’s rights movements. Euronews reporter Valerie Gauriat takes us on a journey through Icelandic society to discover the secret ingredients that give the country a lead in the fight for gender equality. Church and language On a chilly Sunday morning in January, worshippers head to church in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. Today, mass is being held by Guðrún Karlshelgudóttir, one of the female priests at the largest congregation in in the city. She is among the members of Iceland’s National Lutheran Church fighting to increase the number of women in the institution. “And what I would like to change is the women’s role in the church parliament and the governing body of the church. We are only 20 percent of women in these groups and this is where we decide everything; this is where there is the power”. Karlshelgudóttir also wants to neutralize gender in the state religion’s theology and religious speech. “If we want to express faith or God, we have to do it so everyone can feel included,” she explains. “God is not like a woman or a man, a mother or a father. “So I have now started to talk about God as “It”. But at the same time I think it’s important that we talk about God as “She” and “He”, not only “He” as we do in the Icelandic church. So when I use these forms, I use “She” when I can”. The next day, Karlshelgudóttir delivers the testimonies of 64 women priests to the Bishop of Iceland, also a woman. The priests say they were victims of harassment or sexual assault, and are thus joining the #MeToo movement. Show me the money Women’s activism is engrained in Icelandic society. In January, a new gender parity law came into effect. It requires private and public companies with more than 25 employees to pay men and women equally—and prove it. Businesses that fail to do so are subject to fines. Equal pay for equal work. Read more: https://t.co/lXrJD1OdtB pic.twitter.com/BWLZ7FB8dx— World Economic Forum (@wef) 2 janvier 2018 It’s the first time such a law has been enacted anywhere in the world. But for Thórarinn Ævarsson, CEO of the Icelandic branch of IKEA, it’s nothing new. As part of a pilot programme, his company pioneered the law five years ago. As well as gender parity, the law also covers ethnicity, age, sexual orientation and disability. At IKEA Iceland, half the workforce is female and the majority of managerial jobs are held by women. The logistics department used to be all men—now it’s all women. Three women run the sales department for the whole company. “I started in 2007 as a part timer,” says Sales Manager Birnea Magnea. “I was working, while at school. I’ve had all the opportunities I need. I think there’s no difference if you’re a man or a woman, we have the same salary, it’s the same for everything”. For Thór Ævarsson, equality is just good business: “I think it’s absolutely impossible for the long term to have a profitable company unless you have your staff happy. And if half of your staff is not happy, it’s absolutely impossible to have a decent business. Happy staff, they are producing more, they are selling more, and it’s making a better day for everybody here”. Don’t give up the fight A few years ago, one of Iceland’s biggest unions ran a campaign to reduce gender disparity in wages and in career advancement. One video ad showed a woman walking side-by-side with a male colleague until her path is blocked by a transparent glass wall. “Is there something invisible at your workplace?” a narrator asks, “Let’s correct the gender pay gap”. While the new gender parity law is good news, it doesn’t mean the battle has been won, says Ragnar Thór Ingólfsson, President of the VR Trade Union. “It’s imprinted in our culture that men should be paid more for the same jobs than women,” she says. “We also have a legislation on boards of companies, according to which men and women should be

Media: Euronews

The analysis by Equilar looked at pay trends for 339 CEOs who have been in their position for at least two full years at S&P 500 companies that filed proxy statements between January 1 and April 30. Some companies with highly paid CEOs do not fit these criteria, such as Oracle.

Of the companies in the analysis, only 17 were women. Looking at the full S&P 500, there were 27 female CEOs as of the end of 2017, up from 24 at the end of 2016.

“The inability to push seasoned females up the ranks is tragic in my mind,” said Josh Crist, managing director at executive search firm Crist Kolder Associates.

The situation could get even more attention after the recent departures of female CEOs from Campbell Soup and Mattel. Both were replaced by men.

A Pew Research Center study found that women held only about 10 percent of top executive positions at publicly traded companies in the much larger Standard & Poor’s Composite 1500. Of that group, the women tended to be in finance or legal positions that research shows are less likely to lead to the CEO office.

There is a bright spot, though: female representation on boards is improving, according to Catalyst, a nonprofit that works with companies to build a diverse workforce. And that, over time, leads to more women in executive leadership positions.

Companies are seeking diversity, both in gender and ethnicity, for their leadership, Crist said. But getting diverse talent at the top takes time because of the change needed throughout the organization.

Part of the problem is that big companies can be slow-moving, said Drew Silver, a researcher at Pew. The female CEOs in charge now have been in their careers for 20 or 30 years, so their rise reflects the corporate culture of the 1980s. He worries real change will take years.

Brande Stellings, senior vice president of advisory services at Catalyst disagrees. She said companies that make the decision to change have been able to do so quickly.

“The differentiator is not generation or time, but it’s how much does it matter to the leader or organization,” she said. “When someone asks to make the business case for diversity, that case is out of the gate. They are more into the how.”

 

Source: SFgate.com

Featured Image: Getty Images 

 Inset Image: AP Photo/File 

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