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Women Directors Need to Negotiate Harder for Pay and Perks

The gender gap still exists at the top positions of the big corporate organizations. There is a need for awareness for gender diversity and equality on the issue that women have been paid less than men over the years and that gap is yet to be bridged. However, this gap is an exception in the sectors like banking, financial services, and insurance, etc.
A survey of 163 NSE Listed companies has been conducted by ET for the FY 2015 to have findings on the matter concerned. In a survey, it has been found that women directors in India are getting 20 percent less than that of male counterparts. A female board director had averagely earned 1.40 crores in salary, bonuses, benefits and pension contributions whereas in comparison males have earned 1.75 crores.

Situation has changed in last five years

The situation has changed in the last five years with some new rules that mandate companies to have at least one woman director. However, the companies after seeing the value of the unique skill sets that women bring to the table are trying to bridge the gender gaps.
Naina Lal kidwai, former chairperson of HSBC India has responded by saying that “My impression is a number of women executive directors are in support roles such as finance, human resources, communication or CSR( corporate social responsibility), etc., while the high-income-earning roles in which most of their male counterparts are will be revenue generating.”
Arvind Usretay executive director, rewards and consulting practice at ET, also agreed with Naina Lal kidwai and added that since the ascent of women to senior management roles is a relatively new development, the gap could also be the result of men being in their jobs for longer.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman of Biocon ltd., also said “audit committee and nomination and remuneration committee chairs and members, in general, get paid extra and this could explain the difference”.

Wage parity has been introduced at most workplaces.

Chairman and Managing director of India for Korn Ferry International, Navneet Singh said “Women who have been hired in senior management roles in the last two-three years have been treated absolutely at par,”

However, 10 years ago diversity was not an issue of concern among the corporates and women from that pool (would not) go on to the executive boards when differentiation also exists. Now the differentiation gap has narrowed from then but still exists to some extents.

While most companies have been sensitized to the discrimination that’s inherent in previous pay policies, Kidwai suggested that women may also need to negotiate harder.

Gita Piramal, a business historian, said gender pay disparity exists in several countries. “But as corporates make a conscious decision to include women talent as executive directors inactive roles on boards and not just advisory boards, this gap will come down,” she said.

Wage differentials would be more apparent in middle management than senior management, said Anandorup Ghose, partner, talent, and rewards, Aon Hewitt India. “Today, many of the companies are hiring externally some of the best women talents who would not be paid lesser than their male counterparts,” he said.

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