C-Suite Women See Pay Gap

The best-paid women at S&P 500 companies earn 18% less than men.

Even the few women who’ve managed to advance to the C-suite don’t get equal pay.

Last year, of the five best-paid executives at each of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies, 198 were women, or 8 percent of the total. Those high-achievers on average earned $5.3 million, 18 percent less than men, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

CEO Scarcity

The scarcity of female CEOs explains in part the S&P 500 gender gap. The small pool brings the average compensation down among women in the C-suite because chief executives tend to command the highest pay, said Ilene Lang, president of Catalyst, a New York-based research and advocacy group for women executives.

Average Compensation

Mary Winston, 51, became chief financial officer at Family Dollar Stores Inc. in April last year after four years as CFO of Giant Eagle Inc., a closely held grocery chain with about $9 billion in sales. She got $1.1 million in compensation for the year ended August at Matthews, North Carolina-based Family Dollar, which had revenue of $9.3 billion in 2012. For fiscal 2013, she will make an estimated $1.3 million, if she hits her bonus target. The average CFO compensation at four discount retailers with sales ranging from $2.1 billion to $16 billion was $2.1 million last year, according to data from proxies.

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