04 September 2019

General counsel gender pay gap widens

The gap in gender pay for general counsel has grown, according to Equilar study.


Equilar’s latest General Counsel Pay Trends study shows that male general counsel earned 18.6 percent more than their female counterparts. This is the largest pay gap since Equilar began reporting figures in 2014.

Ups and downs

The report reveals that over 2017 to 2018, median compensation for men increased from $2.52 million to $2.63 million, while median pay for women decreased from $2.44 million to $2.21 million. The figures  represent a 18.6 percent paygap, significantly higher than in reports of previous years, which put the pay gap at around 11 percent. The Equilar report analyses the compensation of general counsel disclosed in the SEC filings by Equilar 500 companies for the last five fiscal years. The Equilar 500 is comprised of the 500 largest, by reported revenue, US-headquartered companies that trade on one of the three major U.S. stock exchanges (Nasdaq, NYSE or NYSE American), with adjustments to compare to the sector mix of similar large-cap indices.

Diversity index

In July, the Equilar Gender Diversity Index (GDI) reported an increased for a sixth consecutive quarter. The percentage of women on Russell 3000 boards increased from 18.5 percent to 19.3 percent in first quarter 2019. This acceleration once again moved the needle, pushing the GDI to 0.39, where 1.0 represents parity among men and women on corporate boards across the Russell 3000. A large part of the GDI continuing to accelerate is attributed to the fact that 46.8 percent of new directorships went to women in first quarter 2019. Equilar said the “while progress is indeed encouraging, there is still a large gap to close.” The full report can be found here.

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