As productivity skyrocketed over the past 40 years, workers saw little from the gains according to a new report.
“The chasm between what the country’s corporate leaders and their workers earn is widening to Grand Canyon-like proportions, according to new research that shows CEO compensation surged 940% between 1978 to 2018 while the average worker saw a meager 12% pay hike over the same 40-year period.
‘CEOs are getting more because of their power to set pay, not because they are increasing productivity or possess specific, high-demand skills,’ economist Lawrence Mishel and research assistant Julia Wolfe said in the report from the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank.
Depending on how it’s calculated, the average pay of CEOs at the 350 biggest U.S. companies last year came to $17.2 million, the EPI research found. (Or, alternatively, about $14 million, with the smaller number valuing the stock options that make up a big chunk of CEO pay at the time they were granted rather than when they were cashed in at typically higher prices.)
Last year chief execs got $278 for every $1 a typical worker earned, according to Mishel and Wolfe. Back in 1965, top corporate chiefs earned $20 for every dollar a typical worker earned, with that ratio rising to 58-to-1 by 1989. The gap widened dramatically in the following decades, they noted, due to a shift in the 1990s and 2000s to compensate CEOs mostly with stock options, restricted shares and other incentive-based pay fueled a spike in their earnings.”
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