(Pixabay)

Gender pay gap widest at top of the corporate ladder, new report says

The gap at the top means that, on average, men earn about $950,000 more annually than women in similar executive positions

A new report on the country’s highest-paid CEOs is adding evidence to the argument that women face a “double-pane glass ceiling” at the top of Canada’s corporate ladder — first in getting to the executive suite and, once there, earning as much as their male counterparts.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives calculates that of the more than 1,200 named executive officers, or NEOs, at 249 publicly traded companies in Canada, women earn about 68 cents for every dollar made by their male counterparts.

READ MORE: ‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces

The study says the gap closes to 86 cents when looking at the wages of women and men in senior manager roles, almost in line with the country’s overall pay gap of 87 cents based on Statistics Canada calculations.

The gap at the top means that, on average, men earn about $950,000 more annually than women in similar executive positions.

The author of the report says the findings, while focused on the executive level where pay is already high, point to a larger equity issue.

“This is certainly about executives — that’s what we’re looking at — but I think it’s reflective of what’s happening throughout corporate Canada and the difficulties that women face in getting a fair shake even if they do have the qualifications,” said David Macdonald, the centre’s senior economist.

READ MORE: MLA calls for equal pay in the workplace

The findings are attached to the left-leaning centre’s annual report on the salaries of Canada’s highest-paid CEOs, who are estimated to earn what an average worker makes in a year by the time lunch rolls around Wednesday.

A review of corporate filings of publicly traded companies shows the top CEOs earned an average of $10 million in 2017, the most recent year available, or about 197 times more than the average worker.

An earlier analysis by The Canadian Press, cited in the centre’s report, found a similar gap among the country’s top 60 publicly traded companies. The review of records for 312 NEOs showed only 25 women and they earned an average of 64 cents for every dollar earned by male counterparts.

Interviews with about a dozen executives revealed a range of reasons.

They told The Canadian Press about how companies rely on the “old boys’ club” for executive searches. They also spoke about how outdated — and unchallenged — corporate culture in some companies leave women out of top jobs or fail to provide workplace support. The executives also mentioned a lack of confidence and risk-taking among women, an issue highlighted in academic research on executive pay.

Macdonald’s report zeros in on three issues.

First, few women are CEOs — about four per cent of Canadian CEOs and 10 per cent of top executives are women — where pay is the highest.

Second, “performance pay” given to top executives — stock, stock options or cash rewards based on how a company performs — is predominantly higher for men than women. Eliminating bonus pay from the equation shrinks the gap to 82 cents, or almost the gap in the wider workforce.

Finally, companies that have more women in their executive ranks tend to be smaller organizations, and therefore pay less than their larger counterparts, Macdonald said.

Federal legislation passed in the spring created a “comply or explain” model for diversity on corporate boards, rather than setting quotas for the number of women, for instance. Macdonald’s report, citing a decade of data from Norway where quotas have increased the number of women on boards, suggests quotas aren’t the answer to closing the pay gap.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER: Revelstoke does not need proposed Hay Rd. development

The development calls for 60 housing units

Which streets in Revelstoke have the most crashes?

The data was recently released by ICBC

LETTER: Kiss the caribou goodbye

Kiss the caribou goodbye Revelstoke! The $1.1 million funding from the B.C.… Continue reading

EDITORIAL: Improving highway safety

Highway 97 has seen plenty of collisions and accidents over the years

Sternwheelers once plied Okanagan Lake

Vessels once transported passengers and goods along the Okanagan Valley

VIDEO: Vegan, gluten-free bakery moves into new space after COVID-19 closure

Jaide and Joel’s Bakery, now True North Bakehouse, is starting fresh

North Okanagan crews quick to douse truck fire

BC Day blaze damages truck on 20th Street

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Dinosaurs revived for animatronic auction in Langley

More than 500 robot dinosaurs, fossils, and exhibition gear are going on the block Aug. 6

Wildfire burns near Okanagan Connector

All lanes are now open on Highway 97C

B.C. paramedics responded to a record-breaking 2,700 overdose calls in July

Province pledges $10.5 million for expansion of overdose prevention response

Canada signs deals with Pfizer, Moderna to get doses of COVID-19 vaccines

Earlier in July both Pfizer and Moderna reported positive results from smaller trials

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

Cyclist in hospital after being hit by load of lumber hanging from truck on B.C. highway

A man is in hospital with broken ribs, punctured lung and a broken clavicle and scapula

Most Read