Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Fortune’s statistics on the top 25 best-compensated male executives' paychecks compared to the top 25 best-paid women’s in 2007 paints an anachronistic picture: think 1950's-style workplace with female secretaries wearing corsets and male executives drinking bourbon for lunch; a scene straight out of Mad Men. No really, it is rather shocking.
Here are some highlights:
The top male earns $350.7 million and the top female earns $38.6 million. That’s a $312.1 million differential!
RW: Okay, so the top male is Steve Schwarzman, Chairman and CEO of Blackstone Group and the top female is Sharilyn Gasaway, EVP and CFO of Alltel. Some may argue that the comparison is misleading because their titles are different. Let’s compare Hamilton James (number 6), President and COO of Blackstone Group with Sharilyn Gasaway, EVP and CFO of Alltel because COO and CFO are roughly comparable.
The sixth best-compensated male earns $98.7 million and the top-paid female earns $38.6 million. That’s a $60.1 million differential!
I am female and assure you that I do not run around fighting for women’s rights or anything like that, but I will appeal to economics when I note three ostensible differences between male execs and female execs:
1. The highest paid male exec is a CEO, while the highest paid female is a CFO.
2. The differential between male and female compensations with comparable titles (COO and CFO) is 1.6 times that of the lower paid female.
3. The ratio of the highest paid male to the highest paid female is 9.
So here is my question: Do you think that the highest paid male executive offers nine times more value to his firm than does the highest paid female executive? I tend to think not.
It suggests that there is still discrimination in the workplace, as such wide salary differentials are unlikely to be explained by stark discrepancies between the male executive labor supply and the female executive labor supply (except, obviously, their reserve wages).
Note: the article specifically calls the male list best-compensated and the female list best-paid, but Fortune fails to mention why.