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Surprise, Surprise! Women CEO’s Earn Less (Portfolio)

image Following on the heels of our post yesterday about the Wall Street Journal’s 50 Women to Watch in 2008, Portfolio published a post in their Daily Brief Blog about female CEO’s earning less than their male counterparts. (Women CEO’s Pay: More Is Less) The report was conducted by The Corporate Library, the independent research organization focusing on corporate governance that was co-founded by Nell Minow who is also interestingly a popular film critic. (NY Times profile / Movie Mom blog).

Actually something did surprised me in this report: female CEO base pay is higher than males. But when all other forms of compensation are taken into consideration, women are left far behind. From Portfolio:

While women C.E.O. base salaries are consistently higher than men C.E.O. base salaries, when total compensation is analyzed, women in corner offices earn 8 to 21 percent less than men in the same job at comparable companies.

It’s worse for women CEO’s of large companies who end up getting paid approximately half of what their male counterparts make. There is some good news though.

Women C.E.O.’s at smaller companies received more total compensation than women leaders at larger companies — and, in fact, more than men C.E.O.’s at comparably sized companies: $3.5 million on average, compared with $3 million for men.

This would seem to be an anomaly due to the small representative sample of women CEOs. The study goes on to say:

The startling numbers are more disturbing given the minuscule number of women C.E.O.’s available for the study. There were 33 times as many men C.E.O.’s than women chief executives available for the study: 2,620 men and 80 women. The study noted that the ranks of women C.E.O.’s here would be a “shockingly low number in any major Western economy.”

As of this posting, their is one comment to the Portfolio post which is worth repeating here. KWynn commented:

I think it important to note that according to the Center for Women’s Business Research women own 10.4 million firms, employ more than 12.8 million people and generate $1.9 trillion in sales. It is unfortunate that the sample used for this study does not reflect the contribution that women in business have on the US and world economy. Also crucial to note is that Women-owned firms, 50% or more owned by women account for 41% of all privately held firms.

About the author

Peter A. Mello, Founder/Editor Founder of Weekly Leader and Sea-Fever Consulting, LLC, a leadership development and strategic communications consultancy. Previously, CEO of an international nonprofit organization and COO of a national insurance/risk management services firm. Peter has been leading people and managing organizations for over 30 years, writes a leadership column for MarineNews magazine and blogs about maritime culture at Sea-Fever. Follow him on Twitter.

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