The average S&P 500 CEO made $15.5 million last year, 299 times the pay of the median worker. That’s according to an annual report from America’s largest labor union, AFL-CIO, which is widely cited as a measure of workforce equality. This year’s figure represents an increase on the 264-to-1 ratio from 2019 and it came amid devastating job losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic. On average, S&P 500 bosses saw their paypackets grow by $700,000 last year and $2.6 million over the past decade.
According to AFL-CIO, the ratio of CEO-to-worker pay is important because “a higher pay ratio could be a sign that companies suffer from a winner-take-all philosophy where executives reap the lion’s share of compensation”. It adds that “a lower pay ratio could indicate the companies that are dedicated to creating high-wage jobs and investing in their employees for the company’s long-term health”.
The research shows that Aptiv Plc has the most staggering CEO-to-worker pay ratio out of all S&P 500 companies with boss Kevin Clark making 5,294 times its median employees’ pay at the end of fiscal year 2020. The second most-pronounced gap was at The Western Digital Corporation at 4,934:1 while perhaps ironically, Gap was in third place at 3,113:1. Other well known companies towards the top of the list include Nike at 1,935:1 and The Coca-Cola company at 1,621:1.
This chart shows the largest CEO-to-worker pay ratios at S&P 500 companies in 2021.
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