The Gender Pay Gap On Snap’s Board Is The Norm At Major Tech Companies

Joanna Coles is the lowest-paid non-employee director and is set to make much less money than her male peers off the highly anticipated IPO.

The Gender Pay Gap On Snap’s Board Is The Norm At Major Tech Companies
[Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

A key detail that illustrates the tech sector’s continuing lack of diversity and gender equity was buried in last week’s hype over Snap’s upcoming IPO.


Snap’s board of directors includes five members who are paid by the company and only one of them is a woman: Hearst magazines’ Joanna Coles. And she is the lowest paid non-employee director, receiving a little over $110,000, compared to her peers, whose pay ranges from $1.1 million to $2.6 million. And since Coles was awarded less stock than the other non-employee directors, she’s sure to make less money off the IPO, when the company hopes to raise at least $3 billion.

I reached out to Snap for comment and a spokesperson wrote in an email, “The S-1 does not reflect Ms. Coles’ latest grant which was issued in January 2017.” [Update: Snap has released an amended S-1, which includes details of the latest grant. With the new package, Coles will receive 52,736 shares of Class A common stock over the course of this year which, when they vest, will put her on par with fellow board members Scott Miller and Christopher Young. Both Young and Miller joined the board in October, 2016 and were offered their grants then. Coles has been on Snap’s board since December, 2015.]

The diversity of Snap’s workforce is a mystery. The company has never released a diversity report, something most other companies in the sector–including Twitter, Google, Facebook, and Apple–have been sharing with the public over the past few years. In the S-1 registration documents, the company expressed its commitment to diversity: “We fundamentally believe that having a team of diverse backgrounds and voices working together is our best shot at being able to create innovative products that improve the way people live and communicate,” it writes. The filing goes on, “We believe that diversity is about more than numbers.”

Read More: Virtual Marketplace Aims To Change The Ratio of Women On Boards

Of course, Snap has plenty of company when it comes to the lack of inclusion, diversity, and equity on corporate boards. Facebook’s seven-person non-employee board, for instance, includes only one female non-employee member; Twitter only has two women out of six; Amazon’s 10-person board (not including Jeff Bezos) is made up of three women.

Of Amazon’s three women, two have far fewer shares than the average board member does (Patricia Q. Stonesifer holds 25,423 Amazon shares, per its 2016 proxy statement, which is well above the average of 11,096 shares but the other two—Jamie S. Gorelick and Judith A. McGrath—own fewer than 5,000 shares each). Facebook’s sole female board member, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, earned $374,922 in fees and stock awards, which is the same as fellow board member Marc Andreessen but less than the $404,922 given to Erskine Bowles. Desmond-Hellmann also holds the fewest number of shares (25,680) in the group. Of Twitter’s two board members, we only have compensation numbers on one–Marjorie Scardino–as the company just brought on Martha Lane Fox earlier this year. Scardino received $295,000 in 2015 (tied for the smallest compensation with fellow member David Rosenblatt) and owns 12,359–which is the fewest number of shares listed for beneficial owners (beside the two newest members who hold zero shares).


Snap likely won’t be talking about its workplace diversity numbers anytime soon. But with only one female board member who makes far less than her male peers, the soon-to-be-public company might soon come under more pressure to come up with better answers than “diversity is about more than numbers.”

This story has been updated to reflect Coles’ latest grant, which wasn’t available at the original time of publishing

About the author

Cale is a Brooklyn-based reporter. He writes about business, technology, leadership, and anything else that piques his interest.