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Executive directors report 2021

Practices and remuneration trends report: Executive directors.

The effects of COVID-19 have dominated the headlines and the conversations locally and globally and many organisations have only just started imagining what a post-COVID environment will look like for their employees and clients. It is difficult to know what the future holds as organisations continue their journey to recovery and stabilisation and what effect COVID-19 and other megatrends will have, in the context of reward practices globally and in South Africa. While many see change coming, boards and management may not have started thinking about the opportunities presented by a post-pandemic environment and the corresponding actions they should be taking within the context of remuneration.

The report analyses executive pay during the period from 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2021, focusing primarily on executive remuneration among companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), and includes high-level analyses of companies listed on seven selected sub-Saharan African stock exchanges.


Although boards are making progress in areas such as company strategy, executive remuneration and corporate culture, others are struggling to determine the next step.

One of the most critical areas is that of diversity and inclusion. Our research shows that female representation in senior management and executive roles continues to remain stagnant and although companies have introduced initiatives, many companies are struggling to identify and take the necessary actions to expedite progress and promote gender and racial diversity within their senior leadership.

There has been an increased awareness of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, with organisations beginning to link purpose to their strategy and begin the process of integrating ESG metrics into their incentive structures. We have included in this report some highlights from recent global PwC research and thinking, which builds upon the thought leadership in previous editions of our report, and links to much of what we have been discussing with our clients over the last year in terms of the link between ESG and reward.

JSE: Gender representation by company size

Only 13% (81 women) of the ED population is female (including CEOs and CFOs). The overall level of female representation is also consistent across companies of different sizes (large, medium and small cap). Although diversity (specifically gender representation) has become a greater focus point, there is still significant under-representation of female EDs, particularly at CEO level.

JSE: CEO race pay gap

We have analysed the racial diversity among the top 100 JSE-listed companies by focusing on the ED roles rather than company size. Even though race remains a challenge, from a race pay gap perspective, a marginal pay gap was observed at CEO, CFO and other ED roles at median TGP level.

JSE: Total guaranteed package, all industries (R’m)

Based on the analysis, CFOs typically earn approximately 35% less than CEOs and are paid similarly to other EDs.

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Leila Ebrahimi

Leila Ebrahimi

Partner, P&O Reward Co-lead

Tel: +27 (0) 11 287 0887

Andréas  Horak

Andréas Horak

Partner, P&O Reward Co-lead

Tel: +27 (0) 11 797 5683

Makhosazana Mabaso

Makhosazana Mabaso

Partner, P&O Reward

Tel: +27 (0) 11 797 4473

Mariangela Venturi

Mariangela Venturi

Senior Manager, P&O Reward

Tel: +27 (0) 11 797 4265