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MTN acts on gender pay parity across the group

Samuel Mungadze
By Samuel Mungadze, Africa editor
Johannesburg, 12 May 2022
Ralph Mupita, MTN Group CEO.
Ralph Mupita, MTN Group CEO.

As the debate on executive earnings rages across the country, MTN Group has, for the first time, undertaken a gender pay analysis across its business.

The company says it is fully committed to act on the gender pay disparities it has identified, and is looking to increase the number of women in senior levels and critical roles across the group.

Some 39% of MTN Group’s workforce are women and it says it wants fairness on employee earnings.

Last month, MTN Group committed R25 million to drive gender equality in the company after partnering with United Nations Women and the HeForShe Alliance.

“As we continue on our mission to create a gender-equal workforce by 2030, we believe it is imperative to recognise and act on gender pay parity to effect meaningful progress,” says MTN Group president and CEO Ralph Mupita in the telco’s recently released Sustainability Report.

The development comes as MTN Group is linking the remuneration of senior executives with the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets.

Compensation for MTN executives now depends on progress on three ESG goals: reaching net zero, enhancing diversity and inclusion, as well as extending rural broadband.

MTN has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 47% by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2040; achieving workforce gender equality by 2030; and extending rural broadband coverage to 95% by 2025.

The debate on executive salaries is ongoing across the country following recent revelations that Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman received R300 million in remuneration for 2021, most of which related to conditional share proceeds.

The wrangling has also drawn the attention of the Institute of Directors in South Africa, which says fair and responsible remuneration has to be demonstrated within the context of building value not just for shareholders, but for the broader stakeholder community.

Dr Ronél Nienaber, chairperson of the institute’s remuneration committee forum, says while the issue of executive pay “is highly complex”, transparency is key to good governance globally.

She believes remuneration committees need to ensure targets linked to the variable pay plans are within management’s control, verifiable, relevant and with sufficient amount of stretch.

MTN says, going forward, the variable elements of executive compensation − short-term incentives (STIs) and long-term incentives (LTIs) – now depend on progress on the ESG goals.

This supports the delivery of its Ambition 2025 strategy, and in particular the strategic priority to “create shared value”, which has “ESG at the core”, it notes.

“We have made great progress overall and continually strive to meet the increasingly high standards our stakeholders demand regarding our ESG impact. To this end, we have linked 2022 executive remuneration for STIs and LTIs to ESG,” says Mupita.

“Effectively managing our environmental, social and governance impacts is critical to reaching Ambition 2025.

“This aligns with our work to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through our business activities and our support of governments, communities and customers. We are committed to bridging the digital divide and furthering financial inclusion to advance the attainment of the goals.”