The rewards for chief executives who run S&P 500 companies soared 17.1% last year, to a median $14.5 million.
It is in stark contrast with the 4.4% increase in wages and benefits netted by private-sector workers through 2021. The raises for many rank-and-file workers also failed to keep up with inflation, which reached 7% at the end of last year.
At half the companies in this year’s pay survey, it would take the worker at the middle of the company’s pay scale at least 186 years to make what their CEO did last year.
Expedia Group’s, valued at $296.2 million and JPMorgan Chase’s $84.4 million, boards gave particularly big grants of stock or stock options to recently appointed CEOs . JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, whose compensation package valued at $84.4 million was the fifth-highest in the AP survey. That was up 166.7% from a year earlier, and most of it came from an award of stock options valued at $52.6 million. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, who ranks No. 4 in the AP’s pay survey this year with a package valued at $98.7 million. Just $3 million of that is salary. The vast majority came from a grant of restricted stock, valued at $82.3 million.
Consider Marry Barra, CEO of General Motors. Her industry was particularly hard hit by the shortage of computer chips, which snarled auto production. Even so, GM’s board highlighted how the company still delivered record earnings before interest, taxes and some other items. The automaker also accelerated development of its electric vehicles. Those are two of the factors that influence Barra’s pay, and her compensation climbed 25.4% to $29.1 million.
“I would hope that the corporation making record profits would recognize that the workers doing the work are the ones generating the revenue,” said Dave Green, a hot metal driver at a GM facility in Bedford, Indiana. “We’re just trying to get by.”