Top US CEOs Made 254 Times More Than Median Workers in 2021, Study Shows

Monday’s analysis shows that CEOs of some of America’s largest corporations made 254 times more than their average employees in 2021 due to stock awards and executive bonuses.

According to the latest edition Equilar 100The annual report focuses on executive pay at the top U.S. companies. In 2021, the median total CEO compensation rose to $20 million, nearly 31% more than in 2020.

“Increases were seen across all pay components,” notes the new analysis, which lists the total compensation and CEO-to-median-employee pay ratio of the 100 largest U.S. companies by revenue, a ranking that includes Apple, Microsoft, Raytheon, and Intel.

“While median salary and median perks increased incrementally, the largest jumps were examined in the form of cash bonuses and stock awards,” the analysis notes. “The median value of stock awards increased by 22.7% in 2021, from $8.6 million to $10.5 million. Meanwhile, cash bonuses increased by 46.4% in 2021, from $2.8 million to $4.2 million.”

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger topped the Equilar 100 list with $177.9 million in total compensation in 2021 followed by Apple CEO Tim Cook, who took home $98.7 million last year — a 569% increase from 2020.

Amid record-shattering corporate profitsDespite rising CEO salaries, workers in the average job market continued to struggle in 2021, as the coronavirus spread and prices for food, housing and other necessities climbed. erodedThey experienced modest wage increases. As Bloomberg reported last month, “employee compensation rose 11%” in 2021, “but the so-called labor share of national income — essentially, the portion that’s paid out as wages and salaries — fell back to pre-pandemic levels.”

Sarah Anderson, director, Global Economy Project, Institute for Policy Studies told CNBC on Monday that the new Equilar study shows corporations “really just let loose in 2021 and were focused on keeping their executives happy and not worrying as much about what was happening on the worker end.”

“Workers, many of whom are on the front lines of the crisis, have not been reaping the rewards,” said Anderson.

Equilar’s findings provide further evidence that the decades-long trend of soaring CEO compensation and largely stagnant worker pay is persisting as legislative effortsTo narrow the gap, you can’t do it. According toAccording to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), CEO salaries in the United States grew 1,322% between 1978-2020, while average worker wages grew only 18%.

On Tuesday, EPI and Harvard University’s Shift Project released a Company Wage Tracker that uses survey data to show employee wage distributions at nearly 70 large retail and food-service companies, including Starbucks, Dollar General, Walmart, McDonald’s, and other prominent corporations.

“At Starbucks — where workers have sparked a union organizing wave in recent months — 63% of workers make below $15 an hour,” EPI notes. “At Dollar General and McDonald’s, 92% and 89% of workers, respectively, make below $15 an hour, with nearly one-in-four workers making below $10 an hour at both companies. A majority (51%) of workers make below $15 an hour at Walmart.”

Ben Zipperer, an economist at EPI, said in a statement that “low wages are a defining feature of the U.S. labor market, and the service sector in particular.”

“Low pay is not limited to ‘mom-and-pop’ stores — it is also widespread in big box stores, restaurants, and grocery stores that often have high CEO pay and revenue,” Zipperer added. “A higher minimum wage and unions can put corporate greed in check and raise wages throughout the labor market.”

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