Womenomics: Firms with female execs perform better, study finds

An analysis by Goldman Sachs found firms that have more women in senior positions as managers or on their boards outperform in their sectors [FILE: …

Companies with a higher presence of female executives have historically rewarded their equity investors with better performance, said Goldman Sachs Group Inc. strategists as they unveiled a basket of European firms that employ an elevated number of women.

“Over more or less any period since the global financial crisis, having more women in senior positions as managers or on the board is associated with company outperformance relative to the sector,” the strategists led by Sharon Bell wrote in a note on Tuesday. They added that this doesn’t apply to all industries and that academic research isn’t yet conclusive on this trend.

Goldman analysts rolled out a new basket of European companies with the most women at all levels, called Womenomics (GSSTWOMN Index), which includes firms such as LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, Swedbank AB, Nestle SA and AstraZeneca Plc. French and Nordic companies dominate the list, said the strategists, as France has a quota system for female board members while the Nordic region has historically had higher female labor participation.

Europe is beating the U.S. in its push to make women a more equal part of the workforce, and although the pay gap between men and women remains large in the region, it’s smaller in all major countries in Europe than in the U.S., Canada and in Japan, according to Goldman. Workforce participation rates among women in Europe have been rising, while in the U.S. they’ve been flat since the late 1990s, said the strategists.


The research weighs in on the market debate regarding the importance of investing based on environmental, social and governance principles. Europe has been seeing a boom in appetite for such investing this year, with about 50% of all new exchange-traded funds in Europe, the Middle East and Africa this year ESG-related and accumulating about $4.2 billion in assets, according to Citigroup Inc. data. That compares with $3.8 billion for new non-ESG funds.

ESG Flows

Inflows into ESG-focused strategies may have contributed to the better equity performance among companies with higher female presence, Goldman said.

“The price outperformance may be a function of flows into ESG funds targeting diversity metrics, rather than more women producing better outcomes or lower risks,” the strategists said. “But even if this were the case, we continue to believe investors will value higher social and governance scores for companies, so companies that do perform well on these metrics should continue to attract both flows and a premium.”

As a to-be-sure, Goldman strategists also added that they weren’t able to find a correlation between higher female presence and returns on equity. While the outperformance of companies with more women is “pretty robust” for different time periods, in industries like technology it doesn’t work, according to Goldman, as the sector has been slow to improve its diversity.

They also said that academic research hasn’t been conclusive on whether employing more women means better performance.

Goldman’s Europe Womenomics index is down about 7.8% this year, compared with a drop of 11% for the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 gauge. Over the past five years, the difference is much more significant, with Womenomics up 22% compared with a gain of around 4.2% for the Stoxx 600.

Covid-19 Effect

The companies in the basket have on average 46% female employees, compared with 36% for the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index. In addition the selected companies have 40% female managers and 42% women on the board.

Goldman doesn’t believe females in the workforce will be more adversely affected than men by the fallout from Covid-19. While women are more heavily represented in such industries as travel, media and retail, which have seen strong profit declines during this year’s crisis, more women are employed by the public sector, where salaries have held up better.

Longer-term social changes as a result of the pandemic could also benefit women, according to Goldman.

“There is likely to be less commuting, more online work and working from home, and this should enhance flexibility for both men and women,” the strategists said. “It is the flexibility of both women and men that we think has been a determinant in increasing women’s participation in the workforce in recent years.”

UK film industry gender pay gaps revealed for 2018

The figures for Cineworld and United Cinemas International (part of the Odeon group) have improved (6.6%/4.7%). Further results can be found on the …


Source: Pixabay

UK film organisations were among more than 10,000 companies to publicly disclose pay gaps between male and female workers this week.

The figures from public organisations, distributors, exhibitors and post-production houses show that, with a few exceptions, limited progress has been made on gender pay imbalance since last year.

All organisations employing more than 250 people were required by the government to publish their 2018 figures by either March 31 (public sector) or April 5 (businesses of charities).

On the distribution side, Disney revealed that men earn 20.9% more on average than women, with Warner Bros Entertainment UK disclosing a gap of 25.3% in favour of men. Both figures are slightly better than last year.

Going in the opposite direction however are Columbia Pictures, which runs Sony’s UK film and TV operations, revealing a gap of 25.6%, and Universal owner NBCUniversal, down from 3.2% in favour of men in 2017 to 7.9% last year.

No figures were available for Netflix, Amazon Studios or 20th Century Fox.

Those figures are mean hourly rates, measuring the average difference between a woman’s hourly wage and a man’s hourly wage across the entire company.

Looking at the public sector, The British Film Institute has made slight improvements on the previous year, with a gender pay gap of 0.4% in favour of men (up from 0.5%). The BBC and Channel 4 have also improved, but are still at 8.4.% and 22.6% gender pay gaps in favour of men respectively.

In exhibition, Vue Entertainment reported that women’s pay was 2.6% lower than men, a disappointing figure as women’s pay was 4% higher in 2017.

The biggest pay gap was once again Odeon Cinemas, with 27.4% in favour of men, down from 12.5% the previous year.

A success story was Everyman, with women’s pay 6.6% higher then men’s, compared to 6.3% lower in 2017.

The figures for Cineworld and United Cinemas International (part of the Odeon group) have also improved on the previous year (6.6% and 4.7% in favour of men respectively).

Further results can be found on the UK government’s service.Screen has highlighted key film industry-related companies below.


British Film Institute

Women’s mean hourly rate is 0.4% lower than men’s

Women’s mean bonus pay is 20.9%lower than men’s


Women’s mean hourly rate is 8.4.%lower than men’s

Women’s mean bonus pay is 2.5%lower than men’s

Channel 4

Women’s mean hourly rate is 22.6%lower than men’s

Women’s mean bonus pay is 39.5% lower than men’s

Studio facilities

Pinewood Group Ltd

Women’s mean hourly rate is 25.8%lower than men’s

Women’s mean bonus pay is 75.1%lower than men’s

Warner Bros Studios Leavesden Ltd

Women’s mean hourly rate is 16.7%lower than men’s

Women’s mean bonus pay is 61.6%lower than men’s


Vue Entertainment

Women’s mean hourly rate is 2.6%lower than men’s

No bonuses were paid

Cineworld Cinemas

Women’s mean hourly rate is 6.6% lower than men’s

Women’s mean bonus pay is 36% lower than men’s

Picturehouse Cinemas

Women’s mean hourly rate is 4.3%lower than men’s

Women’s mean bonus pay is 37.9%higher than men’s

Odeon Cinemas

Women’s mean hourly rate is 27.4%lower than men’s

Women’s mean bonus pay is 49%lower than men’s

Everyman Media

Women’s mean hourly rate is 6.6%higher than men’s

Women’s mean bonus pay is 64.6%lower than men’s

United Cinemas International (UK)

Women’s mean hourly rate is 4.7%lower than men’s

Women’s mean bonus pay is 32.8%lower than men’s


Warner Bros Entertainment UK

Women’s mean hourly rate is 25.3%lower than men’s

Women’s mean bonus pay is 70.6%lower than men’s

Walt Disney Company UK

Women’s mean hourly rate is 20.9%lower than men’s

Women’s mean bonus pay is 48.4%lower than men’s

Columbia Pictures Corporation

Women’s mean hourly rate is 25.6%lower than men’s

Women’s mean bonus pay is 47.2%lower than men’s

NBC Universal

Women’s mean hourly rate is 7.9% lower than men’s

Women’s mean bonus pay is 15.2%higher than men’s

VFX and post production


Women’s mean hourly rate is 21.1%lower than men’s

Women’s mean bonus pay is 5.1%higher than men’s

Double Negative

Women’s mean hourly rate is 23%lower than men’s

Women’s mean bonus pay is 61% higher than men’s

The Farm Post-production

Women’s mean hourly rate is 1.1% higher than men’s

Women’s mean bonus pay is 30.4% lower than men’s

UK Film and TV Firms Show Improvement in Gender Pay Gap – but Little Equality

The BBC, Cineworld, ITV Studios, Sky, and Vue managed to keep the difference in average hourly pay for men and women down to single-digit …

U.K.-based film and TV firms still have a way to go to close the gender pay gaps in their ranks, the latest statistics show. Most companies have reported some progress in shrinking the disparity, but a handful saw the numbers heading in the wrong direction, with Viacom’s Channel 5 and Turner Broadcasting among the backsliders.

The BBC, Cineworld, ITV Studios, Sky, and Vue managed to keep the difference in average hourly pay for men and women down to single-digit percentages in 2018. At the British Film Institute, the gap was just 0.4% in favor of male employees, while TV production and distribution giant Endemol Shine and news network CNN, which reports separately from Turner, actually recorded higher pay for their female staff.

But all these companies were outliers. Overall, the numbers show that film and TV firms largely remain a long way from achieving earnings equality.

Under British law, companies with more than 250 employees in the U.K. must report gender pay information annually. The reports for 2018 are the second since the requirement was introduced.

Among broadcasters, the BBC’s 8.4% difference in male-to-female pay was down from the 10.7% posted last year. Tony Hall, the pubcaster’s director general, has set a target of closing the gap by 2020. “We want to go further and faster to build on what’s been achieved so far,” he said.


ITV, one of only six companies in the FTSE 100 with a female CEO (Carolyn McCall) also narrowed the gap slightly, from 16.4% to 14.9%. Within the company, production and distribution unit ITV Studios recorded a much smaller disparity than the broadcasting side of the business.

BBC Studios, the BBC’s commercial arm, registered a gap of 19.6%, and acknowledged the need to be proactive in increasing the number of women in senior roles. “While it is part of a wider societal trend – which will take time [to reverse] – we must play our part in changing it,” the company said in its report.

Channel 4 posted its figures months ago, revealing that a yawning 28.6% gap in 2017 had improved somewhat to 22.6%. That leaves plenty of work to do to hit CEO Alex Mahon’s goal of an even split of top earners between men and women by 2023.

Viacom’s Channel 5 was one of the few to show an emphatic reverse in 2018, with a gap that widened to 14.6% in favor of men from 2.85% in favor of women in 2017. James Currell, president of VIMN U.K., conceded that “clearly this year’s numbers are tracking in the wrong direction.” He said the broadcaster has “implemented a number of new measures which we are confident will help us achieve gender parity over time.”

In the pay-TV sector, Sky and Virgin both recorded very small increases in their pay gaps, which came in at 5.3% and 10%, respectively.

Disney has added staff to its ranks – and is losing some – as it reorganizes following its acquisition of Fox assets. In the U.S., it is facing a class-action lawsuit alleging systematic underpaying of its female employees. In the U.K., its latest gender pay gap was 20.9%, a slight improvement on the previous year. Warner Bros. Entertainment saw its gap fall from a whopping 30.9% to 25.3%. More encouragingly, both Disney and Warner Bros. were among the film and TV firms with the highest proportion of women among their top earners.

There was disparity across the British operations of other studios. Sony, which posts film and TV numbers under the Columbia Pictures moniker, posted a small increase in the pay gap to 25.6%. NBCUniversal was the best performer of the Hollywood bunch, with a gap of 7.9%.

Discovery has just set up an international pay-TV base in Amsterdam but retains a hefty presence in the U.K. The gender pay gap in its U.K. ranks shrank slightly to 12.7%. Another major channel operator, Turner Broadcasting, went from an already high 30.2% to an embarrassing 35.6%. It attributed the rise to a “very small number of one-off payments” that had skewed the average, and said there was “encouraging movement” by other measures. It also flagged an even 2018 gender split in staff recruited for, or promoted to, senior roles across the EMEA region.

Fremantle and Endemol Shine are among the few producer-distributor groups sizable enough to be required to report. The former, now under the stewardship of Jennifer Mullin, more than halved the gap in earnings between the sexes to 15%. Endemol Shine, under the leadership of Sophie Turner Laing, went from almost even gender pay to a 2.5% gap in favor of its female staffers.

How These Corporations Are Shrinking The Pay Gap And Making Equal Pay Real

… also fine tuning internal policies around succession planning and promotion. I talked to executives from Starbucks, McAfee, Credit Karma and Buffer.

On Equal Pay Day, the news couldn’t be better. While the shift is small, growing data suggests that the gender pay gap in the United States is shrinking for some women. I talked to compensation experts as well as executives from Starbucks, McAfee and Credit Karma to find out how they and other industry leaders are making equal pay and role-based compensation a new reality.


Finally, some good news. Multiple sources are reporting that though small, there is a slight tightening of the pay gap in the United States. In other words, the gender pay gap is actually shrinking for some women in the workforce. A new report released by PayScale, a cloud compensation company, shows that for their crowdsourced data, the average uncontrolled pay gap is decreasing from from $0.26 in 2015 to $0.21 in 2018. Pew Research also found a similar trend in their ongoing analysis of U.S. Census Data, specifically for women between 24 and 35 years of age. Pew found that the wage gap was $0.15 for all working women, age 16 and above, and $0.11 for women just starting their careers in the workforce. Hired, a two-sided job searching platform for the tech industry, also found “glimmers of progress” in their latest annual report on equal pay, where a 1% shift was detected.

Lydia Frank, Vice President of Content Strategy for PayScale, is cautiously optimistic about signs of pay progress. “It takes a lot to change the pay gap ratio because the number of people included in those calculations are so large,” she said. Frank said that she would not be surprised if there were minor fluctuations of a few cents every year. “But I do feel hopeful because in our post #metoo world, there’s just more people demanding accountability and calling out bad behavior.” Frank noted that paying attention to the real drivers of the pay gap are key, and that new horizons in establishing equal pay are emerging that go beyond just increasing compensation. While many people talk about demanding more salary to close the gap, a more effective strategy includes examining career trajectories and promotion of women and people of color into management and executive ranks. “It’s less about ‘pay me more’ and more about ‘promote me more ,’” Frank said.

Yet regardless of tactics, these findings – of the potential trend that the pay gap may finally be shrinking – could not come on a better day. Today is Equal Pay Day, the day that represents roughly the average number of days women in the United States have to work to make the equivalent salary of a White male counterpart. Since women on average make $0.80 for every dollar that their male coworkers make, women find themselves working until in April to get to parity. The day moves further out into the year if you are a mother ($0.71) or a Black ($0.61), Native ($0.58) or Latinx ($0.53) woman, according to the National Women’s Law Center. Let’s be clear: Equal Pay Day is an anti-holiday. It’s purpose is to remind us that even as things are changing in the world, we still have work to do to make sure women’s labor is equally valued. In fact, the World Economic Forum projected in 2018 that it might take as long as 202 years to close the global pay gap, which is down from 217 years, their prediction in 2017.

Forward-thinking corporations are not willing to wait another two hundred years. Many have taken direct action to level set pay while also fine tuning internal policies around succession planning and promotion. I talked to executives from Starbucks, McAfee, Credit Karma and Buffer. In each case, a few hallmarks of corporate leadership stand out. Leading organizations are committed to expressing their cultural and corporate values through how they implement their compensation and benefits. They have support from their C-suite and board to fully implement equitable changes. They clarify promotion process and in some cases, they make sure employees have access to equity as a part of compensation. Most importantly, they are committed to transparency, even when the numbers are not flattering.

Zulima Espinel is Vice President of Global Public Policy at Starbucks, and she mentioned that as Starbucks opened it’s 30,000 store, the weight of that influence is top of mind. She also mentioned that as a corporation with a global footprint, there is a desire to examine and drive positive changes for equal pay around the world as soon as possible. Espinel and others withing Starbucks have been working to find ways to “create a unified approach to how we look at pay equity across markets, and allow markets to support those with the best practices that make sense for that market. There’s been a recognition by our partners that this is a global, complex issue, and we’re trying to figure out how to make changes at scale,” she said. In terms of pay practices, Espinel mentioned that in Starbucks China, as in the United States, there is no cap on promotion in terms of pay.

Espinel also mentioned organizational changes that Starbucks is committed to making. She mentioned that the gender ratio of the entire company is about 67% women and 45% are employees of color. When it comes to senior leadership, 40% of executives are women and 13% are people of color. Espinel noted that while these figures might be better than many corporate averages in the United States, there is still work to do. Starbucks set a new goal of reaching gender parity in senior leadership positions by 2020. This is in addition to Starbucks’s established paid parental leave and tuition reimbursement, two programs that reduce barriers for women and parents in ways that go beyond just compensation changes.

Starbucks joins more than 100 companies and corporations that signed the White House Equal Pay Pledge under the Obama administration, and continues to inspire corporations across industries. Count McAfee, a leading cybersecurity software company, as one of those corporations inspired by Starbucks’s work. Chatelle Lynch is the Chief Human Resources Officer for McAfee, and Lynch has steered the company through enormous staffing growth and changes in the last few years. What has been inspiring for her is that there was never a need to launch an internal persuasion campaign on equal pay. In fact, part of her executive recruitment has been to bring in executives who support equal pay and other equitable corporate values. Lynch also mentioned that support came from the very top – McAfee’s CEO Chris Young. “Our CEO wants diversity as a business level metric against bookings and revenue and all those things that we grade our performance on,” Lynch said. The same holds true for McAfee’s board of directors.

Lynch noted that transparency has been key to adjusting their compensation policies. “At McAfee, we defined pay parity as fair and equal pay for employees in the same job level and location.” They also control for factors such as performance, tenure, and experience. Lynch said that the employee reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. “It’s important to know that I can at anytime talk to our employees and look them in the eyes and say, we pay men and women equally at McAfee,“ Lynch said. As of April 1, Lynch mentioned that McAfee has leveled salaries across the organization, and will continue to monitor and make adjustments on a quarterly basis, going forward.

Credit Karma, the online personal finance platform, also shifted to role-based compensation last year. Colleen McCreary is Chief People Officer at the company, and as a 20-year veteran of the tech industry, she has helped many tech companies grow and scale. Having a smart people strategy has been a part of that track record of success. “I’ve been passionate about tying people’s understanding of how they’re paid to their actual work, and want to make sure that people understand that connection,“ McCreary said. With a heavy use of data, McCreary started to evaluate Credit Karma’s compensation and promotion policies. Initially, she saw a lack of clarity on the promotion process and how bonus decisions would get made. She notes that this was not a glaring problem, but that she knew that the organization would benefit from increased transparency. “If we know that we have nine people who are all doing the same software engineer job, who do exactly the same thing, why aren’t we paying them exactly the same?” McCreary said. So she got rid of the bonus structure, in part to support the new role-based compensation and equity structure.

The equity piece as a part of total compensation is important to McCreary, as she noted that it’s a company-wide motivator. She also eliminated salary negotiation in job interviews, again switching to full transparency on compensation by role. The results were positive. McCreary say acceptance rates for job offers went up and attrition went down, an important trends for a company that now tops out at more than 1,000 employees.

Compensation is an emotional topic for everyone. McCreary’s advice to other executives who are changing policies around pay is to stay in touch with as many employees as possible. “We did a monthly town hall where we walked everybody through the changes, including why we did the changes, and showed what the data was that led us to do these changes. We had a real conversation about how compensation works,” McCreary said. She also created a Slack channel where any employee could ask her a question and her answers would be visible to everyone. Like McAfee and many other companies, McCreary said that the employee reactions to these types of compensation changes has been largely positive.

Ultimately, it comes down to authentic alignment with organizational values. McCreary notes that Credit Karma’s values of helpfulness, ownership, progress and empathy are connected to equitable policies around compensation, and even extend to how Credit Karma’s 85 million members might see the company. “We should be living those values,” McCreary said. Compensation and promotion policies are an important place to show that authentic commitment.

Equal Pay Day, Google Heritage Foundation, Darktrace: Broadsheet April 2

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Googlers push back against a Heritage Foundation leader, we’re still trying to build a better breast pump, and we …

Your say on Equal Pay Day. Today is Equal Pay Day in the U.S., the date into the new year that women had to work to to earn as much money as men did in 2018. It accounts for the average pay gap for all women in the U.S., which stands at 19.5%, but it’s worth noting—as we do below—that Equal Pay Day for black, Latina, and Native American women falls much later in the year.

The Broadsheet covers the gender pay gap year-round (though we wish we didn’t have to!), so to mark this occasion, we wanted to hear from you. Last week, readers shared with us their experiences with the pay gap. Some edited excerpts are below.

–A.F., in the communications industry, recalled working as a lifeguard and realizing a less-experienced male colleague out-earned her. She confronted HR about it, but was met with excuses and reprimanded for gleaning the information from her co-worker’s misplaced pay stub. “I didn’t get a raise,” she says. “[It was] my first experience with a ‘boys club.’ I’m still questioning myself nearly 10 years later.”

–Sonia Hodge, in K-12 educational administration, says when working for a past employer, she was asked “to fill the top finance office without getting paid or recognized for it.” Her unique circumstances—on the verge of marrying a man who lived out-of-state—gave her little leverage. She eventually resigned. “That was only five years ago, but I’d do things differently now.”

–Christy Kirk, who’s now in social media marketing, was ecstatic when she was once offered the job of general manager at a TV group’s largest station. She was expecting to earn at least $165,000 per year, the salary of a smaller station’s GM; she was offered $80,000 instead. “[T]hey said it was because it was my first GM role. I pointed out that every GM in our company was on their first GM role and ALL made more than $80,000, and ALL were men. I tried negotiating but there was no negotiation. I refused the job,” she says. Months later she planned to leave the company two weeks short of her contract’s end. “The president of the company, who had low-balled me for the GM job, threatened to sue me for leaving two weeks early. I told him to please sue because I had a lot of things to say under oath. It went away. I went away,” she says. “But I still have bruises from such a blatant attempt to underpay me or any woman.”

–‘There are a lot of little girls out there who would like to have your job,’ is the all-too-familiar line Cari Coats, managing partner at Accendo Leadership Advisory Group, heard earlier in her career. “That’s what I was told in my mid-20s when I questioned why the TV station I was working for hired my new male co-host at my same salary. (I had more experience and a better track record). So…I quit. When I reflect back on my (very successful) career, I realize what a defining moment this was for me.”

–April Johnson, owner of Good Cakes and Bakes in Detroit, once worked at a company that forbid employees from discussing salaries. “After leaving that job, I was mistakenly sent an offer letter for a new hire straight out of college that was $18,000 higher than the listed starting salary,” she says. Now at her own business, “[a]ll employees start at the same living wage, which is above minimum wage, and everyone is eligible for a $3/hour raise after three months based on their performance.”

–S.R., in beauty intelligence, says she intervened when a female developer requested a salary lower than her male colleague’s. “I told her I would pay her more, the equal amount, but next time she had to negotiate for it,” S.R. says. “I think startup founders who have an influx of cash have rare opportunities to reset the dynamic. [J]ust highlighting the differences to her made her change her mode of thinking and her value. She now knows when she wants a pay increase, to consider her worth, her colleagues, and to not just pick an arbitrary number.”

The complexity of the gender pay gap is often framed in statistical terms: Is the ‘average’ gap a reliable figure? Are we comparing ‘apples to apples’? And how do we account for variables like motherhood? (For more on all that, see below.) But as your responses indicate, the personal toll of the gender pay gap is just as multi-faceted; it can plant seeds of doubt and regret, it can build resilience, and it can galvanize meaningful change.

Claire Zillman