Female CEOs Are Out-Earning Their Male Counterparts

May 24, 2017

It's a lucrative time to be a female CEO.

According to an analysis by executive data firm Equilar and The Associated Press, the median pay for a female chief executive was $13.1 million last year. Male CEOs, on the other hand, earned $11.4 million. Both numbers represent an increase of 9% over the year before.

The highest-paid female CEOs of 2016 were IBM's (ibm) Ginni Rometty ($32.3 million), Yahoo's (yhoo) Marissa Mayer ($27.4 million), PepsiCo's (pep) Indra Nooyi ($25.2 million), GM's @general (gm) Mary Barra ($22.4 million), and General Dynamics's (gd) Phebe Novakovic ($21.2 million).

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While it's true that women at the top are making—on average—more than their male counterparts, it must be noted that the sample size for them is much, much smaller. Of the 346 executives included in the Equilar and AP study, which looked at S&P 500 company CEOs who served in their current office for at least two years as of the end of the fiscal year 2016, just 21 were female.

This is the same as the number of women at the helm of Fortune 500 companies last year—or just 4.2% of CEO positions in America's 500 biggest companies. That's a smaller number than in both 2015 and 2014, due to a number of shakeups.

Looking ahead to the 2017 Fortune 500 list, however, the picture looks brighter. While some chiefs will likely come off the list for various reasons, 11 female CEOs have landed top jobs since the last ranking was released, including Tricia Griffith at Progressive (pgr), Shira Goodman at Staples (spls), Michele Buck at Hershey (hsy), Margo Georgiadis at Mattel (mat), and Geisha Williams at PG&E (pcg).

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