A recent study by GMI Ratings showed a $215,000 disparity between the salaries of male and female CFOs.
CFO Magazine noted that the study looked at several factors that impact CFO pay, including company size, market cap, age and tenure in the position. Total average compensation for the men, including salary, bonus, and stock awards, was $1.54 million versus $1.32 million for women.
Why do women earn less? Is gender discrimination at play? One of the study’s authors surmised that, “It is possible that women are more likely than men to advance through promotion from within a single company. Many firms tend to pay more when making outside hires, which could lower women’s compensation levels.” The report also cited possible shorter work histories for women, even when they are the same age as men, because they are more likely to interrupt their careers to raise children.
SteveTobak, a consultant and contributor to CBS, has some ideas of his own. He believes that, among other things, women and men may not negotiate in the same way and that compensation is a complex discussion at the CFO level. He also noted that women and men may not be similarly motivated by the same factors, with women weighing non-compensation factors such as work flexibility, security and benefits more heavily than men.
Based on 2010 census data, Bloomberg recently reported that the six jobs with the largest gender gap in pay are in the financial sector, with women earning 55 to 62 cents for every $1 made by men. However, it appears the gender gap is starting to close with the median-pay disparity for all occupations at 77 cents for every $1 earned by men, an improvement from 61 cents during the last 50 years.
Whatever the reason for the inequality, the debate about why it exists rages on. While on the surface it certainly seems that men and women should be paid the same for the same job function, there are clearly many factors at play.
If you’re a woman who wants to earn more than your male counterpart on Wall Street, Bloomberg recommends (tongue in cheek, of course) that you set up a shoe-shine stand in Lower Manhattan. Female personal care and service workers earn $1.02 for every $1 made by their male colleagues. Go figure.
— Laurie Berman, firstname.lastname@example.org