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Apple(s) to Oranges? Tim Cook Outearns Employees 1,447 to 1

This is a syndicated repost published with the permission of Statista | Infographics. To view original, click here. Opinions herein are not those of the Wall Street Examiner or Lee Adler. Reposting does not imply endorsement. The information presented is for educational or entertainment purposes and is not individual investment advice.

According to an official statement filed with the SEC last week, Tim Cook’s job of leading the world’s most valuable company paid off handsomely in 2021. Cook, who succeeded Steve Jobs as Apple CEO in 2011, saw his pay package swell to $98.7 million last year, mainly thanks to a stock award worth $82 million at the day of the grant. As Apple notes in the filing, the company’s median employee’s total compensation was $68,254 in 2021, leading to a staggering CEO-to-worker pay ratio of 1,447 to 1. Without his stock award, Cook would have outearned his employees 240 to 1, which is still sizeable but actually below the S&P 500 average.

According to the latest Executive Paywatch report, published by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the average CEO-to-worker pay ratio at S&P 500 companies was 299 to 1 in 2020, making Tim Cook’s latest paycheck stand out even among fellow CEOs. While it’s clear that top executives should earn more, nay significantly more, than average workers, there’s growing criticism of the ever-widening gap between CEO compensation and regular worker pay.

Data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute shows that inflation-adjusted CEO pay at the largest 350 public companies in the United States grew by 1,322 percent between 1978 and 2020. In stark contrast, real wages of production/nonsupervisory workers grew by just 18 percent during the same timespan, raising questions as to whether workers are getting their fair share of the value they help create.

This chart shows the CEO-to-worker pay ratio at Apple and at S&P 500 companies in 2021/2020.

CEO-worker pay ratio

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