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U.S. CEO's pay 231 times higher than that of average workers

May 02, 2012|Marla Dickerson
  • U.S. chief executives hauled in an average of about $11 million in 2011, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
U.S. chief executives hauled in an average of about $11 million in 2011,… (Jon Krause / For the Times )

So much for the new austerity.

The average U.S. chief executive earned more than $11 million last year in salary, stock options and other compensation, according to a new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute. That’s about 231 times more, on average, than workers.

That ratio has shrunk a bit since the height of the dot.com bubble, when a ballooning stock market inflated CEO compensation to 411 times that of working stiffs.

And it’s smaller than the pay gap calculated recently by the AFL-CIO, the umbrella federation of unions representing about 12 million U.S. workers. Their analysis concluded that the typical CEO of an S&P 500 Index company made 380 times the average wages of U.S. workers in 2011. 

Whatever. What's clear is that the pay gap between U.S. CEOs and rank-and-file workers is higher than anywhere else in the developed world. And it has been accelerating over the last few decades. In 1965, the U.S. CEO-to-worker compensation ratio was roughly 20 to 1.

Here are some additional stats to put the oh! in CEO:

-- 725%: That's how much average CEO compensation increased between 1978 and 2011, according to EPI.

-- 5.7%: That’s how much the average worker’s compensation increased over the same period.

Bottom line: It pays to be CEO.

RELATED:

Lehman Bros. elite stood to get $700 million

Lehman Bros. pay report brings calls for reform

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