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Executive Compensation: The Shocking Discrepancy Between Men and Women

There has been much debate about pay discrepancy between men and women in the US that has fueled many different arguments with no viable solution.

In the UK, as I wrote in one of my previous posts, there are more women in management positions, and on the Board of Directors for companies than any other nation in the world. In fact, the UK has a history of female leadership and empowerment. However, as I was researching the payscale for unicorn companies located in London, I found an peculiar occurrence.

Monitise is one UK's very first unicorns, currently its valuation is over £1 billion and launched its IPO in 2007 on the London Stock Exchange (LON:MONI).

Its Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Ruse recently quit "for personal reasons" a couple of weeks ago.  However, a look into the payscale at Monitise shows an alarming disparity.

In the fiscal year 2014, CEO Elizabeth Buse's total annual compensation was just £42,000 whilst her male colleagues, Lee Cameron (Executive Director) was £663,000; Brad Petzer (CFO) £290,000 and even the Technology Advisor Michael Keyworth was £352,000

Although Ms. Buse started at Monitise in June of 2014, which is roughly half of the year at the company, the annual compensation seems exceedingly low in comparison to her management colleagues whose compensation was approximately 350-650% more than her meagre salary of £42,000. In addition, she received a total of 5 million in total stock options whilst 3 out of 4 of her male colleagues in executive management had received between 10-11 million.

Former CEO Elizabeth Buse's competitor salaries, based on similar backgrounds, according to Bloomberg.com

Another eyebrow raising story that came out two weeks ago around the same time was when Eileen Burbidge, VC at Passion Capital and one of the most prominent figures in the UK tech scene disclosed that as Skype's 3rd employee, she was the only person on the management team who did not get paid for 8 months.

Although Ms. Burbidge successfully pivoted her career into the world of venture capital and now is sitting on the Business Advisory Panel for David Cameron, in addition to being one of most powerful women in the UK tech scene, I think it's fair to say that these sorts of injustices eventually come to light, even if Ms. Burbidge has finally talked about this publicly a decade after the fact. 

Eileen Burbidge (far left), VC at Passion Capital, a new member on David Cameron's Business Advisory Committee

This makes me wonder however, if perhaps one of the reasons Ms. Buse left her CEO position at Monitise was simply because she was extraordinarily underpaid in comparison to her male colleagues? Although I am unaware of all the circumstances of this particular situation, and can only speculate on information that is available to the public, I think in my humble opinion that this sets an extremely negative climate for female C-level executives in the UK. Monitise is one of the first UK unicorns to have launched its IPO, yet by taking a cursory look at its executive management payscale, one can only wonder at this austere deviation away from fair pay for women.

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