Pay Gap for U.S. Female Executives Narrows But Persists

Source: Reuters 

BOSTON (Reuters) – Even women who make it to the top ranks of U.S. corporations face a persistent pay gap compared with men in leadership roles, a new study of corporate filings found.

Among companies in the Russell 3000 index, covering most of the investable U.S. stock market, the highest paid women earned 84.6 cents for every dollar earned by male counterparts in 2019, up from 81.5 cents in 2015, according to a paper from researcher Morningstar Inc due out Wednesday.

Author Jackie Cook said the narrower difference pointed to progress that should continue as companies file disclosures in coming weeks showing 2020 compensation.

But the persistent gap reflects a lack of top female leaders and how those now in place often hold lower-paid posts like heads of marketing or human resources. To change, companies must add more women at all levels to maintain a diverse pool for promotions, she said.

Among companies in the Russell 3000 index, covering most of the investable U.S. stock market, the highest paid women earned 84.6 cents for every dollar earned by male counterparts in 2019, up from 81.5 cents in 2015, according to a paper from researcher Morningstar Inc due out Wednesday.

Author Jackie Cook said the narrower difference pointed to progress that should continue as companies file disclosures in coming weeks showing 2020 compensation.

But the persistent gap reflects a lack of top female leaders and how those now in place often hold lower-paid posts like heads of marketing or human resources. To change, companies must add more women at all levels to maintain a diverse pool for promotions, she said.

“Companies can’t just solve for this at the top of the ladder, they have to look at the entirety” of their workforces, Cook said.

Her analysis traced five years of pay disclosures by 2,384 Russell 3000 companies from 2015 to 2019. Most recently, women held just 12% of the ‘named executive officer’ positions, up from 9% in 2015. At companies in the sample, 47% had at least one woman in their top ranks in 2019, up from 35% in 2015.

The female executives were still well paid, with median compensation of $1.76 million in 2019, and their gap with male counterparts narrowed faster than did the pay gap for working women overall.

According to the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank, the 52.1 million U.S. women who worked full-time, year-round earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2019, up from 80 cents in 2015.

Gender and race-based pay differences have received more attention amid social justice protests and the brutal economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full article here.

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