‘Female CEOs of top UK companies earn less than 50%’

Woman in boardroom


Female chief executives earn less than half as much as their male counterparts overall, according to new research.

Research into the top FTSE 100 companies, conducted by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), the professional body for management and leadership, commissioned by the Sunday Times, found that total pay – including all bonuses, pensions and perks – averaged £5.8m for male CEOs last year compared with £2.6m for their female counterparts, creating a 55% gender pay gap at the top of British businesses. In the FTSE 100, only seven have a female CEO.

The CMI says that bonuses, long-term incentive plans and share awards are what make the difference. When looking at base salaries amongst FTSE 100 chief executives, the pay gap is just 11.6%. Taking bonuses into account it then jumps to 35.9% and 74.7% in Ltips (long-term incentive plans) and share awards.

The highest-paid male boss was Jeff Fairburn of the housebuilder Persimmon, who earned a total of £47m during 2017. Emma Walmsley of the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline was the best-paid woman, earning £4.9m.

The remuneration divide also exists among chairmen and women and finance directors, says the CMI. Female chairs typically make 77% less than male chairs in total, while female finance directors earn 45% less than their male counterparts.

Ann Francke, chief executive of the CMI, said: “This shows the scale of the challenge we continue to face, and the painfully slow progress being made. We know the average gender pay gap reported in the UK is about 15% so it’s shocking to see this gap at least triples among the top three roles.

“It is also concerning that the gap is driven by the more opaque parts of pay, such as bonuses, Ltips and perks and calls into question as to how these are calculated.

“Given the evidence that firms with balanced leadership teams outperform their non-balanced competitors, shouldn’t investors be up in arms over these discrepancies in female pay as well as the lack of female representation at the top?”

The CMI says the gender divide is further apparent in the lack of female representation at the top. Over three quarters (77%) of FTSE 100 companies do not have a female CEO, CFO or Chair. Kingfisher is the only FTSE 100 to have a female CEO and CFO.

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