Germany has shockingly few women on the boards of its top DAX-listed companies.
A recent report from EY said that there are 40 women on the boards of DAX companies compared with 350 men.
But on a more positive note, female executive-board members out-earned their male counterparts by 27% last year, with combined earnings of €2.27bn (£1.95bn, $2.5bn).
Women on the boards of DAX-30 (the 30 biggest firms on the German stock exchange) companies earned over €3m on average, compared with €2.9m for their male peers.
Senior women executives are scarce, according to EY, and thus can command higher salaries. The report noted that while women on the boards of the DAX 30 earn more than their male counterparts, women on boards of MDAX (mid-cap firms) and SDAX (small-medium sized) companies earn less.
The EY report said that female CEOs were not included in the earnings survey, as there is only one woman leading a DAX company – Jennifer Morgan, who was appointed as co-chief executive of SAP together with Christian Klein in October.
Men on the German blue-chip company boards saw their average salaries dip last year, and have now dropped to a six-year low from their peak in 2013.
"The increasingly difficult economic situation and the mixed business performance of many DAX companies has led to a loss of salaries among the top managers," said Jens Massmann, EY’s executive compensation specialist.
The consultancy firm expects executive salaries to keep declining. "Many leading German companies are in a phase of upheaval and are also suffering from international trade tensions and the economic downturn,” Massmann said.
“Profits are falling, stock prices are under pressure. Therefore, the board of directors and above all the CEOs probably have to adjust to further salary cuts.”