Even women who make it to the C-Suite make less than their male peers – about 18 percent less.
Bloomberg looked at the five best-paid executives at each of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies. That included 198 women, or 8 percent of the total, whose compensation averaged $5.3 million.
Women tend to start at lower salaries and don’t make it up later on, Bloomberg notes. Their lack of workplace sponsors often keeps them from asking for stretch assignments and raises, says Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. In a best-selling book, Sandberg urged women to “Lean In” to their careers.
Also, as women advance they might not want to stand out, or stand tough on compensation, or they might be more focused on an opportunity than they are the paycheck.
“Women are more likely to advocate for opportunity for themselves than for money, even when they’ve accomplished so much,” M.J. Tocci, Director of the Heinz Negotiation Academy for Women at Carnegie Mellon University, is quoted as saying. “That’s not surprising given the backlash women can get when they seek higher pay. Even people who believe women deserve what they’re asking for often peg them as selfish and not likable, which isn’t the reaction men get when they demand more.”
Nevertheless, Tocci urges women to press for equal compensation. One possible strategy: job hopping to more aggressively seek higher pay.