White men still rule and earn more

Only 6% of the 329 chief executives at JSE listed companies are women. 

PwC’s 12th edition of the Executive Directors: Practices and Remuneration Trends Report paints an even bleaker picture of the pay gap between men and women.

“Without meaningful representation, a gender pay gap analysis of individual positions is not useful, as comparing a male median income with the median of the much smaller female group cannot be viewed as a fair comparison,” reads the report. 

Only 19 women are in an executive position at the JSE listed companies. 

A comparison could not be made in the energy industry because there were no women in executive positions, according to the report.


In the consumer goods industry, the pay gap between men and women is 65%. 

In telecommunications and healthcare, the pay gap between men and women is 53% and 47% respectively.

Despite commitments by companies to close the pay gap, income disparities continue to be a pressing concern in South Africa, PwC noted.

In the past year, executive directors made about 66 times more than workers earning the national minimum wage. 

The PwC report comes just weeks after the latest draft of the Employment Equity Amendment Bill was published. 

The Bill is aimed at monitoring disproportionate income disparities. The amendments give the minister of employment and labour greater powers to impose targets that will ensure equitable workplace representation at all levels.

The amendments were fast-tracked after the findings of the latest Commission for Employment Equity report, which painted a grim picture of efforts to transform South African workplaces. 

(John McCann/M&G)

The report also noted that the over-representation of white people in higher positions is likely to persist because they benefit the most from recruitment, promotional and skills development opportunities.

The PwC report states that 86% of the chief executives heading up

JSE listed companies are white people. 

The pay gap between black and white people at this level is between 15% and 37%. “Black African, coloured and Indian/Asian representation at CEO [chief executive officer] level remains very low at 14% among the JSE’s top 100 companies. The median pay gap is moderate for the CEO at 15%,” reads the report. 

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M&G Data Desk
The Data Desk is the centre for data journalism at Mail & Guardian
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

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