Being a woman means 43% less pay than men on Singapore boards

Office workers during lunch hour at Raffles Place.
Office workers during lunch hour at Raffles Place. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - If you're a woman and on the board of a Singapore-listed company, there's a high chance you're getting paid, on average, a whopping 43 per cent less than your male peer, according to a study by a business school.

The largest gap was found at firms with a market capitalisation of at least S$1 billion where the women executives earned 46 per cent less than the men, according to the study by the National University of Singapore Business School released on Wednesday (March 1). Independent directors had the narrowest gap, with women making 83 per cent as much as the men.

"These results are disappointing," said Marleen Dieleman, associate professor of strategy and policy at the NUS Business School. "The discussion on board diversity in Singapore should move beyond merely increasing the percentage of female directors to also address deep-seated inequalities including remuneration and women's share of board leadership roles."

The NUS study was based on data from 199 firms listed on the Singapore Exchange. The number of women directors on Singapore-listed companies stood at 9.7 per cent, according to the study.

Elsewhere, women in the UK are paid on average about 18 per cent less an hour than men, a gap that's narrowed from 23 per cent in 2003, according to a report released in August by the Institute for Fiscal Studies report.

In the US, the average woman earns almost US$500,000 (S$700,890) less than men over the course of her career, according to an analysis by the National Women's Law Center.