This is according to a recent PwC report, which also confirms what we have long known – women are still grossly underpaid in comparison to their male counterparts.
The survey, which was conducted among 4 000 senior managers and executives across 550 companies, found that more than six in 10 women (61%) are paid below the median, while 63% of men are paid above the median.
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“From this data, it is clear that corporate South Africa still needs to focus on ensuring that female numbers are increased at these levels in addition to addressing gender pay inequalities,” says PwC Director Rene Richter.
The gender pay gap and the lack of female representation at the senior management and executive level have been a perennial problem in the country, with corporate SA failing dismally to represent women in top leadership positions.
Perhaps it’s time our government learnt a few lessons from developed countries like Norway, which has made it compulsory for companies to reserve at least 40% of board seats for women. If companies don’t meet this quota, boards face dissolution. Other countries like Belgium, France and Italy have taken a hard stance on empowering women in leadership roles, adopting quotas of between 30%-40%.
“Firms that fail to comply can be fined, dissolved or banned from paying Executive Directors,” Richter says.
A 2015 Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa (Bwasa) Women in Leadership Census found that just 2% hold CEO positions in JSE-listed companies, while only 34 companies had more than 25% of women in Director or executive managerial positions.
“Ultimately, sustainable change can only stem from underlying changes within organisations,” says Richter.
“We’re already seeing how the catalyst of gender pay reporting is helping concentrate minds on how to build diversity and inclusion into a more compelling employee value proposition in areas ranging from talent development and succession planning to flexible working and work life balance. This goes beyond gender and can potentially affect the approach to all aspects of diversity in South African organisations.”