A Depressing Figure for the Median Worker: 45 Years

That's how long they need to work to make what their CEO makes in one year
By Janet Cromley,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2018 4:58 PM CDT
Most Median Workers Would Need to Work 45 Years to Make What Their CEO Makes in 1

Don’t cry for your busy CEO. A comprehensive survey of executive pay has found that the average CEO-to-median-worker pay ratio in the US has reached 339 to 1, reports the Guardian. Simply put, median workers at most of the companies surveyed would need to work 45 years to earn what the CEO makes in one year. This figure is higher than that of other industrialized countries, where CEOs make less, according to a Bloomberg analysis. Published by Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the study looked at the earnings of nearly 14 million workers at 225 companies with total annual revenues of $6.3 trillion. Among the findings: In 188 of the 225 companies surveyed, the pay of the CEO could be used to pay more than 100 workers. The gaps are most apparent in the fast food and retail industries, which had a 977 to 1 ratio.

The findings are consistent with another recent report by the compensation research firm Equilar. Equilar evaluated pay at the 100 largest public companies by revenue and found that in 2017 the median CEO pay package was about $15.7 million, its highest figure since Equilar first started analyzing pay in 2007, the Washington Post reported at the time. The biggest earner was Broadcom’s Hock Tan, who brought in a breathtaking $103.2 million. The pay disparity rankles Sarah Anderson, policy director at Inequality.org, who says it could be historic. “We’ve known for many years we have an extreme gap between CEO and worker pay," she tells the Guardian, "but this report goes into detail about which companies are doing the most to contribute to inequality by having extreme gaps in pay scales.” (More CEO compensation stories.)

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