Top S&P 500 CEOs' average percent raises more than double that of workers, study shows

Top executives at S&P 500 companies received a median pay increase last year that was more than double what typical employees got, data from a survey released Friday showed.

Information from the survey, which was examined by Equilar for The Associated Press, showed that wages for CEOs of these top businesses increased to a median of $12 million last year – which comes in at a 7 percent raise that equates to approximately $800,000.

That figure reportedly includes other types of payment, like stocks, on top of salary.

The eight-figure packages continue to rise as companies tie more of their CEOs’ pay to their stock prices, which are still near record levels, and as profits hit an all-time high last year due to lower tax bills and a still-growing economy, according to the outlet.

Comparatively, typical employees who work at these firms reportedly didn’t get as much of a boost in their salaries. The median increase for them was 3 percent last year, less than half the growth for CEOs, The Associated Press said.

One explanation for executives’ large wages is that board of directors – who establish how much CEOs make – often place a higher focus on what competitors could offer to steal them away than their wages in comparison to the rest of the workforce, the outlet noted.


The Associated Press’ CEO compensation study included pay data for 340 executives at S&P 500 companies who have served at least two full consecutive fiscal years at their companies, which filed proxy statements between Jan. 1 and April 30. Some companies with highly paid CEOs did not fit these criteria and were excluded.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.