(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

Police incident in Mount Douglas Park leads to road closure

Officers turning cars away, letting hikers go up trails

PHOTOS: Women’s March through downtown Victoria draws crowds of activists, allies

Attendees of all ages carried instruments, posters with empowering messages

Victoria resident lives well despite dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

New Victoria Conservatory music scholarship recognizes long-time Sidney resident

O. Thomas Webb died in Sidney last year after retiring to the community in 1975

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Intense winds en route to Greater Victoria

Winter storm warning in effect for east and west regions while wind warning to hit south and north

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Most Read