The pay gap between women and their male counterparts in top roles at corporations has narrowed in recent years, though a wage difference still persists, according to a report published Wednesday by financial services firm Morningstar, Inc.
The report, authored by Jackie Cook, found that among companies in the Russell 3000 index, the highest-paid women earned 84.6 cents for every dollar earned by men in similar roles at the companies in 2019, an increase from 81.5 cents in 2015.
In her analysis, Cook examined pay disclosures by 2,384 Russell 3000 companies from 2015-2019, according to Reuters.
In 2019, women held 12 percent of “named executive officer” positions, an increase from 9 percent in 2015. Approximately 47 percent of the companies had at least one woman in a top role in 2019, compared to 35 percent in 2015.
Cook noted that the narrowed pay gap and increased female representation in top roles are a reflection of efforts made by corporations to promote diversity in the workforce, a trend which she noted should continue in the coming weeks as companies file 2020 compensation disclosures, Reuters reported.
However, Cook said that gender diversity must be extended at all levels of a company, with a persistent gap largely influenced by females in top leadership roles being often restricted to lower-paid positions such as heads of marketing or human resources.
“Companies can’t just solve for this at the top of the ladder, they have to look at the entirety” of their workforces, Cook said, according to Reuters.
However, Cook did note that the gap between female executives and their male counterparts narrowed much faster than the overall gender pay gap between 2015 and 2019, with median compensation of $1.76 million for women executives in 2019.
Despite the gains made by corporations in recent years, several top companies did not have women among their top-paid executives in 2020, including multinational technology giant Amazon.
When contacted by Reuters, an Amazon spokesperson pointed to the company’s recent report on workforce data, in which the company wrote that, “We have made year-over-year progress, but continue to strive for better representation across our various businesses.”
Amazon added that a “review of the compensation awarded in 2020 at Amazon, including base, cash bonuses, and stock, shows that women earned 100.0 cents for every dollar that men earned performing the same jobs, and minorities earned 99.2 cents for every dollar that white employees earned performing these same jobs.”
“We continue to prioritize pay equity,” the Amazon report added.