(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.

Just Posted

Genre-hopping harpist, singer to perform in Parksville

Musician on a quest to demystify harp playing GZAL on Jan. 24

Councillor has concerns about Qualicum Beach pot shop decision

Debate over location, public consultation and timing continues, though commitment already made

Oceanside RCMP arrest man wanted on several outstanding warrants

Hudson David Klassen, 26, picked up in Parksville

Qualicum Beach ‘Seniors Scene’ columnist remembered

Roy Jones described as caring father, energetic seniors’ centre member

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

Parksville addictions treatment advocate to speak in Port Alberni

Recovering addict Kelly seeks to share more of her story with second event

12 poisoned eagles found in Cowichan Valley

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Most Read