Women fall behind men in pay parity at Mastercard
Mastercard disclosed its gender pay gap for the first time on Monday, saying that its female employees worldwide make 7.8% less than the men. The company said it is working toward parity.
On an adjusted basis — evaluating employees at the same level, doing the same role — Mastercard said it has achieved gender pay equity. Still, the median pay for female employees globally is 92.2% of the median pay for male employees, according to a blog post by Ann Cairns, the company’s executive vice chairman. That sort of gap usually indicates that women are underrepresented in the highest-paying job categories.
“Our aim is parity across all measures,” Cairns said in the blog post. “These numbers speak to work that lies ahead for us.”
Mastercard is only the second major U.S. financial institution to publicly offer such a blunt assessment of its pay practices. Citigroup, one of Mastercard’s largest bank partners, said in January that female employees at the company made 27% less than men did, an improvement from 29% a year earlier.
In the U.K., companies with at least 250 employees are required to disclose the difference between men’s and women’s mean pay. Mastercard’s latest report showed its female employees in the U.K. earning 14.8% less than the men.
Banks and other financial institutions have faced continued pressure from shareholders and activists to make more disclosures about employee pay. Mastercard’s statement comes after the payment network faced a shareholder proposal from Arjuna Capital asking the company to prepare a report on its global median gender pay gap and any risks related to recruiting and retaining female talent.
Women make up roughly 39% of Mastercard’s global workforce and 29% of the firm’s senior management, according to its latest sustainability report.
“Nearly two dozen companies have now responded proactively to the Arjuna-led pay equity campaign,” Natasha Lamb, managing partner at Arjuna Capital, said in an emailed statement. “Companies like Citi, Starbucks, and now Mastercard are now beginning to present more detailed gender pay gap information that we think constitutes an honest accounting of the gender pay gap.”
“When I started my career, I was often the only woman in the room,” Cairns said. “Building the next generation of female leaders is essential for our company.”
Mastercard, led by Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga, said on Friday in a separate blog post that within its U.S. employee base, racial and ethnic minorities earn $1.006 for every $1 earned by white employees. Globally, the company said median pay for people of color is 7% lower than pay for white employees. It did not disclose pay by specific ethnicity or race.