We’ve all heard of the gender pay gap and gender inequality in the workplace. Sadly, statistics show that only a small percentage of women reach senior management level and are generally paid less than their male counterparts.
But don’t lose hope just yet! There are a handful of inspirational women making their way to the top of the corporate ladder and getting fairly compensated for it.
What’s their secret, and what can we learn from their success stories? Read on to find what the highest-paid female CEOs have to say.
Denise Coates, Bet365 CEO, $421 Million
Denise Coates is the founder and CEO of the wildly successful Bet365, a popular online sportsbook in Canada and around the world.
Bet365 averages $65 billion in bets a year, but what makes newspaper headlines is Coates’ eye-watering salary of $421 million, making her one of Britain’s wealthiest women and highest-paid female CEOs.
This is a far cry from the small family business that Coates started managing in the 90s, which she described as ‘a small chain of pretty rubbish betting shops’. She had the insight to acknowledge the increasing popularity of online betting sites and decided to take the risk of buying the Bet365.com domain. The rest is history.
Despite her immense wealth, Coates avoids the public eye and rarely participates in interviews. However, in a one-off interview with the Guardian, she gives insight on how she achieved success:
‘You start a 24/7 business and you work 24/7. When you’re not here [in the office], you take calls in the middle of the night, regularly – that’s how the early days were.’
Bottom line: work hard to get to where you want to be, and enjoy the success later.
Safra Catz, Oracle CEO, $40.7 Million
Safra Catz joined the software firm Oracle in 1999 and eventually took up the role of CEO in September 2014.
During her time as CEO, she has earned herself the title of one of the richest female CEOs and one of the most efficient, helping to close a minimum of 130 acquisitions. How does she make it work? During the Oracle Modern Business Experience in London, Catz revealed that the secret is constant evolution:
‘You have to constantly ask if you’re doing things the best way. Is it the fastest, the cheapest, the smartest?’
And if you’ve recently had a success story like a promotion? Don’t let down your guard because, according to Catz, that’s the time when you’re at your most vulnerable.
Lisa Su, AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) CEO, $27.1 Million
Lisa Su took over as AMD CEO in October 2014. Since that time, AMD’s stock has increased its worth by more than 25 times, and it led to a billion market capitalization, defining it as one of the best technological turnarounds. Her pay justly reflects this, with a compensation package of $27.1 million, although her 2019 package even went up to a whopping $58.5 million.
Lisa Su’s brilliance plays a big part in this. She’s an MIT graduate with a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and a PhD in electrical engineering, which is no small feat in a male-dominated field.
However, Lisa Su had one main piece of advice that really shaped her career:
‘Run toward the hardest problems. This approach has helped me to learn a tremendous amount from both success and failure.’
Mary Barra, GM (General Motors) CEO, $23.7 Million
Mary Barra has spent her entire career at GM, starting as an 18-year old quality inspector and working her way up to the position of CEO in 2014.
Barra had her work cut out for her as she took over the company when it was under strain from bankruptcy and an ignition-switch design flaw that led to several deaths. Under Barra’s leadership, the company moved towards a culture of accountability and collaboration and is now a thriving company focused on three main goals: zero crashes, zero emissions, zero congestion.
In an interview with TIME magazine, Mary Barra had some sound advice for younger women in the workplace:
‘The biggest message I have for young women is, don’t start cutting off branches of your career tree unnecessarily early. Sometimes women say, I know I want to have a family or play in the local symphony, and they start pulling themselves out of their career path. You don’t have to take yourself out of the running before you even start.’
If Mary Barra is anything to go by, you can have it all if you put your mind to it.