ABSA Group CEO Maria Ramos, the only female CEO on Top40 JSE listed companies
Men continue to dominate in chief executive roles in JSE-listed companies, according to a study by PwC on trends of executive pay, which said gender imbalance was still evident on the bourse.

The report, released yesterday, said that the profile of an executive director on the JSE was a white man aged 55 years.

This while 40percent of today’s global workforce is female, with women holding only 5percent of global chief executive positions.

The numbers were similar in Africa where only 5percent of chief executives were women, which fell far short of the desired target of 50percent to achieve gender equality, the report said.

“In South Africa, JSE-listed companies have a long way to go in achieving the target for female chief executive. There is only one female chief executive in the Top 40 JSE listed companies,” said the report, referring to Barclays Africa chief executive, Maria Ramos.

The survey profiled 1174 executive directors of 360 JSE-listed companies with a combined market capitalisation of R14trillion in the 12 months to April 2017.

It found that executives had received an average pay increase of 5.7percent.

In the year to April, chief executives of the Top 40 listed companies had been paid an average salary of R24.6milion. Chief financial officers were paid an average of R13.8m and an average R7.7m was paid to executive directors, the study found.

INCREASES

The average inflation in South Africa for the 2016 reporting period was 6.6percent up from 6.2percent in 2015.

Interestingly, junior workers had received increases of 16percent as many South African companies focused on their financial wellness and finding ways to sustainably increase their pay.

“Going forward, there should be a greater focus on the financial wellness of junior workers and addressing the issues of inequality, unemployment and poverty,” the report said.

This as South Africa’s official unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2017 was at a staggering to 27.7percent with the extended definition of unemployment, which includes discouraged work-seekers, rising to 36.4percent.

Martin Hopkins, a compensation and benefits partner at PwC, told journalists in Johannesburg yesterday that companies needed to pay a living wage.

He said a living wage was between R10000 and R12000 a month. “Our definition of a living wage is to be able to live a dignified but frugal lifestyle,” he said, referring to the ability for employees to afford homes and education for their children.

Hopkins also said that the gap between chief executives and employees was an emotive one. “There should be a balance between pay morality and pay ethics,” he said.

Last year there was a public outcry when Shoprite chief executive, Whitey Basson, received a whopping R50m bonus after 37 years of service.

“Governments have come under pressure to level the playing field by striking an appropriate balance between remuneration paid to executives and the wage conditions for employees in lower level jobs,” said the report.

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