Top CEOs List Seems to Shut out Women

Apparently concealed in Tuesday's news that Canada's 100 top-paid CEOs made 193 times what the average worker did in 2015 is the fact only two members of that elite club are women.

The lack of diversity reflected in the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' list may seem hard to believe, but not so for the experts studying the problem. In fact, a recent report by consultancy Rosenzweig & Co. found that among the 100 biggest companies in Canada, only eight have female CEOs.

When other executive roles such as chief financial officer and chief technology officer are included, the picture doesn't improve: of 526 such positions at Canada's biggest companies, only 42 are held by women.

The two highest-paid female CEOs on the left-leaning think-tank's annual list are Linda Hasenfratz of Linamar Corp., who drew $14.2 million in 2015, and Dawn Farrell of TransAlta Corp., who earned $4.5 million.

The research found even among grads with identical education levels, women with MBAs in Canada earned an average of $8,200 less than men did in their first jobs in the corporate world.

One CEO says that gap early on goes a long way toward explaining why even Canada's highest-paid CEOs still bump up against a glass ceiling that keeps them more than $170 million below what Valeant CEO Michael Pearson, number one on the list, was paid in 2015.