CEOs of S&P 500 companies earn more in two days than the average worker will for the whole year

CEOs of S&P 500 companies earn more in two days than the average worker will for the whole year

6 Jan    Finance News

If you blinked, you missed it.

The average chief executive of an S&P 500 company had already earned more on the second working day of 2020 than the typical employee.

The most recent filings, according to the AFL-CIO union, which analyzed Securities and Exchange Commission filings, show CEOs of S&P 500 SPX, -0.03%  companies took home an average of $14.5 million. That translates as $278,846 per week, or $55,769 per working day.

Much of that pay came from stock. For instance, of the $2.28 billion that the number-one CEO on the AFL-CIO list, Elon Musk, made at Tesla TSLA, +0.04%, only $56,380 came from a salary. (The electric car maker says Musk didn’t make any money in 2018, even though it reported $2.3 billion to the SEC owing to the unusual way the company sets performance targets.)

The second-highest paid CEO, Patrick Smith of Taser stun-gun maker Axon Enterprise AAXN, -5.76%, brought home $246 million, and just $70,027 from a salary. The third-highest-earning CEO, media company Discovery’s DISCA, -0.52% David Zaslav, made a shade under $130 million, including $3 million in salary.

As for the typical employee, the median weekly earnings of the nation’s 118.4 million workers in the third quarter of 2019 was $919, according to the Department of Labor — translating to annual pay of $47,788.

To make it more of an apples-to-apples comparison, however, benefits should be included. A separate DoL survey of employers found that salaries and wages make up 69% of total employee pay. If you account for the value of paid leave, supplemental pay, insurance and retirement and savings at the same proportion as they cost employers, that’s another $16,725, taking the total pay for the typical worker to be $64,513.

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Putting it differently, the average CEO made more by lunch on his or her second day than the average worker will for all of 2020.

A similar calculation was done by think tank the High Pay Centre in the U.K., which found the typical FTSE 100 UKX, -0.62%  CEO has also now surpassed the amount the average U.K. worker earns in a year.

On its numbers, the average FTSE 100 CEO earned £3.46 million while the median full-time worker was paid an annual salary of £29,559, meaning it took three working days for a CEO to take home an annual worker’s pay.

Also read: FTSE bosses make average worker’s annual pay in three days (again)

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