We’re calling BS: There’s no CEO “gender pay gap reversal”

Put away the confetti ladies, we have not “reversed” the pay gap in the C-suite as the lede in today’s WSJ story would have you believe

According to the article, the 21 female CEOs earned a median salary of $13.8 million in 216. That’s compared to the median salary of 382 male CEOs  who earned a “mere” $11.6 million. The glaring difference, though, isn’t that 2 million bucks, it’s the fact that men still hold 95% of CEO positions. 

What’s driving up the average salary for those few women is literally three  CEOs at top companies: IBM’s Virginia Rometty, Hewlett Packard’s Meg Whitman, and PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi. They were three of the 10 highest paid chief executives in 2016. The other seven were men. 

Sure, the average of 382 salaries might come out lower than the average of 21 salaries. Those 382 jobs likely include a lot of smaller companies that naturally have smaller salaries, as well as many top men far outearning their few female counterparts. 

Here’s a more telling stat: Consider this pay gap: The top earning male CEO, Charter Communications’ Thomas M. Rutledge, raked in $98 million in 2016, while the top earning woman, HP’s Meg Whitman, earned $35.6 million.
Correction: A previous version of this article named Expedia’s Dara Khosrowshahi as the highest paid CEO in 2016. He was the highest paid CEO in 2015.