Even The Highest Paid Women Experience A Wage Gap

Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup CREDIT: AP
Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup CREDIT: AP

The women who are counted among the highest paid executives at S&P; 500 companies are paid 18 percent less than their male counterparts, according to an analysis by Bloomberg News.

Eight percent of the top five compensated executives at these companies were women, or 198 total. Not a single S&P; 500 company had more than three women among the highest paid executives. Just four had three and 21 had two.

Certain industries also have much larger gaps. Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup, was paid 24 percent less than the average earned by CEOs in the food industry. Heather Bresch, CEO of pharmaceutical company Mylan, earned 33 percent less than the average for that sector.

Women still make up a very small percentage of the country’s CEOs. They are only about 20 percent of CEOs at S&P; 500 companies, and just 21 CEOs at Fortune 500 companies are women. They are similarly scarce among the top earners at Fortune 500 companies, comprising just over 8 percent.

Their lack of representation in the top position brings down women’s average pay, since chief executives are usually the highest paid employees, Ilene Lang, president of research firm Catalyst, told Bloomberg.

American women overall make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. One factor in this problem is that women who graduate business school with the same experience as men end up with lower level jobs and are paid thousands less. The wage gap keeps widening over their careers. Those same men are also twice as likely to end up being CEO than the women. Women who get other degrees similarly graduate into a wage gap that grows as their careers advance.