Does the gender pay gap exist at the executive level?

A recent article (see HERE) by Luke Meynell of Russell Reynolds Associates reviews the 2023 CEO hiring trends across four major indices – the CAC 40, S&P 500, FTSE 100 and NSE Nifty 50.

The article states that although there has been an uptick in the number of female CEOs, there are still fewer women being appointed than men.

Meynell refers to the “gender tenure gap”, whereby it is common for female CEOs to have a shorter tenure than male CEOs. Of the four indices analysed, only the NSE Nifty 50 had a tenure gap favouring women, i.e. where women had a longer tenure than men on average.

Guerdon Associates conducted additional analysis on CEO tenure and the gender pay gap in the ASX100.

Note that gender pay gaps are not a comparison of like roles. The gender pay gap refers to the difference in pay between male and female employees at an organisational and broad occupation group level.

A related but distinct term is pay equity. This measures the extent to which women and men are paid the same for performing work of equal or comparable value.

This article considers the gender pay gap, rather than pay equity.

Figure 1 highlights the increasing number of female CEOs in the ASX100. From 2022 to 2023, the proportion of female CEOs rose from 9.7% to 13.1%, a step towards greater gender diversity in the top role.

Figure 1: Percentage of Female CEOs in the ASX 100

But when we dive deeper, we find that the story is not so straightforward. Female CEOs generally have shorter tenures than their male colleagues, with an average tenure of 4.1 years. Male CEOs have an average tenure of 7.0 years. This ‘gender tenure gap’ of -2.9 years is a comparable gap to that found in the S&P 500 by L Meynell.

Figure 2 below shows the average statutory Total Fixed Remuneration (TFR) among full year CEOs, with female CEOs in purple and male CEOs in grey. The horizontal line denotes the average statutory TFR among full time CEOs of $1.71 million.

Figure 2: Statutory Total Fixed Remuneration of full year CEOs in the ASX 100

This brings us back to the sobering truth echoed in the article ‘More Women Take CEO Jobs But Parity Still Decades Away’. Yes, more women are becoming CEOs, but they represent a smaller portion of these roles and typically earn less than their male peers. The journey towards fair gender representation is ongoing, reflecting a broader societal push for gender parity that continues to evolve.

© Guerdon Associates 2024
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