Gender pay gap: female CEOs are paid 13% less than their male counterparts

Gender pay gap: female CEOs are paid 13% less than their male counterparts

According to TalentUp’s data, 33% of all C-suite roles globally are held by a woman. This indicates that globally, only a third of all C-suite positions are held by women. This growth is distributed differently across various leadership roles. 39% of CMOs are women, compared to 30% of CFOs, 29% of COOs, 24% of CEOs, 21% of CIOs, and 18% of CTOs. While various initiatives have been taken by organizations to increase female participation, there remains a considerable gap to overcome existing structural and attitudinal barriers.


The overall proportion of women across C-suite roles has seen positive growth over the years. But does being in the top management mean they are immune from the gender pay gap?

Globally, female CEOs are paid 13% less than their male counterparts. This means for every 100 dollars a male CEO earns a female CEO earns 87 dollars. This figure goes down to 7% for CIOs, 6 % for CFOs, 5% for COOs, and 3% for CTOs. 

Even when women advance to higher-paying roles, the gender pay gap persists. Although female executives are well paid, and the pay gap has narrowed faster for them than overall working women. Still, they are not immune to the gender pay gap. In some cases, it’s similar to the overall gender pay gap, while in others it is larger or smaller.

The overall gender pay gap has improved a lot from when the movement initially started. However, this reduction in the gender pay gap varies considerably depending on the industry, country, job role, and the labor market. Some markets have achieved near equal parity while some have hardly changed over the years

Reasons for inequality

There are various reasons for the inequality in pay. Even with the increased implementation of programs in organizations to address gender parity, increased participation of women in the labor market, and their higher levels of education, considerable scope remains in closing the gender pay gap. 

One common assumption is that women ask less and are less likely to negotiate salaries than men. However, research conducted has found that women do “ask” just as often as men, they just don’t “get”. The conclusion from the research was that women ask for a raise as often as men, however, women’s requests for advancement are treated differently from men. 

A significant portion of the pay gap is influenced by the biased attitude of those responsible for determining the pay compensation. A study by The Institute for Gender and the Economy (GATE) at the Rotman School of Management says that the biggest predictor of a corporate officer’s compensation levels is the gender and age of their CEO.

The study showed that corporate officers who were of the opposite gender to their CEO earned less compensation. The effect, although applicable to both male and female CEOs, was largest when the CEO was male.

Male CEOs compensated male officers better than they did female officers and older male CEOs were more likely than younger male CEOs to offer larger payouts to their male officers.


Gender gap is a multifaceted challenge. Without objective methods and practices, it’s easy for gender bias to occur. To address it, some Governments are taking a regulatory approach. By introducing legislative measures such as pay gap reporting and encouraging delinking of gender and specific jobs. But even with introduction of methodical and objective practices in organizations, it’s hard to address the underlying biases that influence this pay gap.

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About Author

Yania Nada

Sales & Partnerships Lead. Yania is a startup enthusiast who enjoys supporting businesses in their development. She enjoys going on nature hikes and gaining knowledge via hands-on experience.

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