The first comprehensive study of the massive pay gap between the US executive suite and average workers has found that the average CEO-to-worker pay ratio has now reached 339 to 1, with the highest gap approaching 5,000 to 1.
The study, titled Rewarding Or Hoarding?, includes data on almost 14 million workers at 225 US companies with total annual revenues of $6.3tn.
In 188 of the 225 companies in the report’s database, a single chief executive’s pay could be used to pay more than 100 workers; the average worker at 219 of the 225 companies studied would need to work at least 45 years to earn what their CEO makes in one.
It also shows how some of the most extreme disparities in CEO-to-worker pay exist in industries that are considered consumer discretionary, such as fast food and retail, with a 977 to 1 disparity, one of the widest gaps.
According to a recent Bloomberg analysis of 22 major world economies, the average CEO-worker pay gap in the US far outpaces that of other industrialized nations. The average US CEO makes more than four times his or her counterpart in the other countries analyzed.
Companies singled out for criticism in the report include Marathon Petroleum, a gas station operator, whose CEO Gary Heminger took home an astonishing 935 times more pay than an average employee in 2017.
Five US firms where workers would have to work more than 1,000 years to catch up with their top bosses. The companies include the auto-parts maker Aptiv (CEO-worker pay ratio: 2,526 to 1), the temp agency Manpower (2,483 to 1), the amusement park owner Six Flags (1,920 to 1), Del Monte Produce (1,465 to 1), and the apparel maker VF (1,353 to 1).