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How do we fix the CEO gender pay gap? Strictly Business debate


How do we fix the CEO gender pay gap? Strictly Business debate

How do we fix the CEO gender pay gap? Watch the STRICTLY BUSINESS debate on how even women right at the top still get paid less

What can we do about the gap that starts right at the top? Ruth Sunderland and Alex Brummer debate the issue. 

At every level in our careers, from the very top of the corporate ladder down, women are paid less than men.

Jane Fraser, the British-born head of Citibank known as the First Lady of Wall Street, has been in the news after she received a 9percent pay rise last year to more than £20million.

A vast haul by any estimation – but still less than her male equivalents.

David Solomons, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, made £21m. James Gorman, the head of Morgan Stanley, took home £26million. Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan made £25million and Jamie Dimon, the long-serving boss of JP Morgan Chase a cool £29million.

Very few people would have much sympathy, if any, for a woman who made £20million in a year. (I have studiously avoided the word ‘earned’ here, as it is hard to conceive that anyone has genuinely earned rewards on such a colossal scale.)

Even so, if shareholders are going to pay men ludicrous sums to run banks, then they should do the same for women.

It would be far more sensible, of course, if salaries and bonuses were lowered for all genders to more sensible levels, but that is never going to happen.

The same applies to sport, where women earn less than men.

The victorious Lionesses are on a far lower whack than male footballers. The average wage in the Women’s Super League is £50,000 – that’s a year, not a week – which would hardly keep the men in Ferraris.

Financially speaking, it makes more sense to be a WAG than a world-class sportswoman in your own right, which is just depressing.

This is all rather rarified but it affects ordinary women, who typically earn nearly 15 per cent a year less than men.

That is equivalent to working for nothing for almost two months in every year. And the unfairness does not even end at retirement, because inferior pay means a lower pension.

The explanations are familiar.

Women are held back at work by caring responsibilities for children and other relatives. Childcare is expensive and sometimes unreliable. Female employees are less confident. There is a wealth of anecdotal evidence we under-rate our own abilities and do not push ourselves forward for promotions.

There is another explanation: antediluvian attitudes.

Although overt sexism has now become much less common, most women can relate incidents of unconscious discrimination at work.

A recent thread on Mumsnet was full of angry female executives venting about how they had been mistaken for the PA, sent out to run errands for men and similar indignities.

Many women may not even realise they are being paid much less than their male counterparts or even men who report to them.

There is a need for much greater transparency.

When the BBC made public the rewards for its top stars, the disparities were shocking.

But women are in the dark over whether they are being paid fairly in comparison with men, whether in the same company or in other firms in their industry.

We should have a right to see anonymised data on pay at our level in the corporate heirarchy, so we can see for ourselves whether we are being cheated of our worth.

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