Male FTSE 100 chief executives earn 77% more than female counterparts, finds new research

The report also draws attention to a considerable gender imbalance among bosses of the largest public companies, with 94 male chief executives last year versus just six females

The male chief executives of the UK’s biggest publicly listed firms earn on average 77 per cent more than their female counterparts, new research has found, adding fuel to the raging debate about gender inequality in senior pay.

Male FTSE 100 chief executives earned an average of £4.7m in 2016 compared with the £2.6m average for female bosses, according to a report by the High Pay Centre and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

The report also draws attention to a considerable gender imbalance among bosses of the largest public companies, with 94 male chief executives last year versus just six females.

“As a FTSE 100 CEO it is more likely that your name is David than you being a female,” the report notes, pointing out that there are eight bosses with that particular first name.

Last September Emma Walmsley was announced as the new CEO of the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, making her the seventh FTSE 100 female boss, but she did not take up her position until this year and so is not included in the pay report.

The report comes in the wake of revelations of a large disparity between male and female pay among the BBC’s stars.

The highest paid female CEO is Alison Cooper of the tobacco giant Imperial Brands, who was awarded £5.5m in 2016, up from £3.6m in 2015.

Liv Garfield of the privatised water company Severn Trent was the next highest female earner, with £2.4m, up from £2m in the previous year.

Carolyn McCall of easyJet, Alison Brittain of Whitbread and Moya Greene of the Royal Mail were all on around £1.5m.

The top 10 highest-paid FTSE 100 CEOs were all male, stretching from Sir Martin Sorrell of the advertising conglomerate WPP with £48m in 2016 to Ben van Beurden of Shell who collected £6.9m.

“Sadly it’s no surprise to see these figures, it’s part of a consistent pattern across our economy that sees women excluded from the top jobs and paid less when they get them,” said Jemima Olchawski, the head of policy at the Fawcett Society.

“While the women on this list are extremely well paid, this huge pay gap is simply unacceptable and is indicative of the wider ways in which women are undervalued in the workplace.”

The report noted some advance in the representation of women on remuneration committees, the company sub-boards that decide how much salary to pay their CEOs and what bonus targets to set.

There were 148 of them in 2016, 8 per cent higher than in 2015, which the report said was likely attributable to the high-profile Government-sponsored push to increase the representation of women on top company boards.

But it also noted that most of these women were in non-executive positions and that there were just 30 female executive directors across the FTSE 100 in 2016. Further, 77 of them of have no female executive directors at all.

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