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Countless surveys have found that women in the workforce tend to make less money than their male counterparts, and that's often true at even the highest levels — including the new chief executive officer at General Motors.

GM has revealed that its new CEO Mary Barra stands to earn as much as $4.4 million in her first year on the job. That's if she collects on the full $2.8 million that's set aside as part of a short-term incentive plan. (She also could collect a potential $1 million in a new stock offering.) But Barra's base salary is $1.6 million — a full $100,000 less than outgoing CEO Dan Akerson earned in 2012.

And Akerson will continue to out-earn Barra, at least for the time being. Though he retired last week — months ahead of the original plan due to his wife's serious bout with cancer — Akerson will continue to earn $1.7 million annually as a consultant to the automaker, according to GM documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Barra's new job places her at 26th on the list of the best paid automotive "Captains of Industry," according to research by trade publication Automotive News, behind Thomas Lynch, CEO of supplier TE Connectivity, which generated barely 8 percent of GM's total revenues in 2013. Lynch took home $4.7 million.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally topped the chart, with a total compensation package of $68.4 million for 2012, the latest year for which data was available.

Barra, 52, has not commented on the salary gap. She is the first female CEO of any major automotive company.

-- Paul A. Eisenstein, The Detroit Bureau

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