Closing The Gap

Women CEOs outearn male top execs, according to a new study by Equilar

Safra Catz, co-chief executive officer of Oracle Corp.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Study: Female CEOs earn more than male counterparts
Study: Female CEOs earn more than male counterparts

There is at least one place where women are earning more than men: the C-Suite.

Women chief executive officers at America's biggest companies took home median pay of more than $13 million in 2018, compared with the $12 million that men took home. That's according to a new Equilar study, which looked at base salary, bonus, stock-based compensation and other benefits.

The study found that women chief executives have made more than their male counterparts each of the last five years. During that time-frame, overall compensation has grown 25%.

Only one woman managed to crack the overall list of the 10 highest-paid CEOs last year. Safra Catz of Oracle made about $108 million, coming in behind Tesla's Elon Musk, Discovery's David Zaslav and Catz's co-CEO at Oracle, Mark Hurd.

These are the 10 highest-paid CEOs in 2018, according to Equilar:

1. Elon Musk

Company Name: Tesla, Inc.
Total Compensation: $2,284,044,884

Tesla CEO Elon Musk reacts during a conversation at the E3 gaming convention in Los Angeles, June 13, 2019.
Mike Blake | Reuters

2. David Zaslav

Company Name: Discovery, Inc.
Total Compensation: $129,499,005

3. Mark Hurd

Company Name: Oracle Corporation
Total Compensation: $108,295,023

4. Safra Catz

Company Name: Oracle Corporation
Total Compensation: $108,282,333

5. John Legere

Company Name: T-Mobile US, Inc.
Total Compensation: $66,538,206

6. Robert Iger

Company Name: The Walt Disney Company
Total Compensation: $65,645,214

7. Fabrizio Freda

Company Name: The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
Total Compensation: $48,164,302

James Murdoch
Tony Barson | FilmMagic | Getty Images

8. James Murdoch

Company Name: Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc.
Total Compensation: $44,415,365

9. Paul Saville

Company Name: NVR, Inc.
Total Compensation: $39,134,164

10. Daniel Schulman

Company Name: PayPal Holdings, Inc.
Total Compensation: $37,764,588

There are, however, several factors that skew the median CEO pay in favor of women. For one, there's a much smaller sample size. The study looked at the 500 largest companies by revenue, and there were only 21 female CEOs, or just over 4 percent of the dataset.

Additionally, women tend to run larger companies. In 2018, the median market cap for a woman-run business was $22.5 billion. For men, it was $16.3 billion, according to Equilar. Often the larger a company is, the more they pay their CEO.

These are the 10 highest-paid women CEOs in 2018, according to Equilar:

1. Safra Catz

Company Name: Oracle Corporation
Total Compensation: $108,282,333

2. Mary Barra

Company Name: General Motors Co.
Total Compensation: $21,870,450

3. Marillyn Hewson

Company Name: Lockheed Martin Corporation
Total Compensation: $21,516,545

4. Phebe Novakovic

Company Name: General Dynamics Corporation
Total Compensation: $20,720,254

Ginni Rometty, President and CEO of IBM, speaking at the @Work event in New York City, on April 2, 2019.
Cindy Ord | CNBC

5. Virginia Rometty

Company Name: IBM
Total Compensation: $17,552,218

6. Gail Boudreaux

Company Name: Anthem, Inc.
Total Compensation: $14,184,276

7. Susan Griffith

Company Name: The Progressive Corporation
Total Compensation: $14,172,925

Vicki Hollub, president and chief executive officer of Occidental Petroleum Corp., speaks during the 2017 CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference in Houston, Texas.
F. Carter Smith | Bloomberg | Getty Images

8. Vicki Hollub

Company Name: Occidental Petroleum Corporation
Total Compensation: $14,105,693

9. Lynn Good

Company Name: Duke Energy Corporation
Total Compensation: $13,794,367

10. Lisa Su

Company Name: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
Total Compensation: $13,356,392

Compared with the median male CEO, women also tend to have a slightly greater portion of their compensation tied to performance. So in a rising market environment, it makes sense that women would take home more.

Last year, the stock market traded lower, and the gap that has historically benefited women narrowed against their male counterparts — but women still managed to eke out the edge over the median male CEO.

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