Keith Ellison releases study showing CEOs average 339 times median worker’s salary

Greg Nash

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) on Wednesday released a study that found CEOs in the United States, on average, are paid 339 times more than their workers. 

Ellison said the report, which includes data on nearly 14 million workers at 225 American companies, paints a dire picture of pay disparities in the U.S. For example, at 188 out of the 225 companies analyzed, a single CEO’s salary could be used to pay more than 100 workers. 

“The CEO-worker pay ratio is a dramatic indicator of our country’s extreme economic divide,” the report’s executive summary reads. 

Ellison is the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee and has worked to try to shape the party’s message on economic issues heading into the midterm elections.


The analysis he released found that at 219 of the 225 companies, an average employee would need to work for more than 45 years to make what their CEO makes in one year.

At the toy manufacturing company Mattel, for instance, a median employee would have to work for 4,995 years – or 111 45-year careers – to make the same amount as its CEO’s annual salary, according to the report. At McDonald’s a median employee would have to work for 3,105 years — 69 45-year careers.

Ellison was a vocal advocate for a rule put in place under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that required U.S. publicly held corporations to disclose how much their CEOs make in comparison to the median salary of other workers.

Companies fought the rule, with some arguing that including the median pay of workers overseas would improperly exaggerate the pay gap. 

The rule requires both U.S. and non-U.S. employees to be counted, but allows companies to exclude non-U.S. employees if they make up five percent or less of the company’s overall workforce.

–Updated at 11:43 a.m.

Tags CEO pay CEOs dodd-frank Keith Ellison
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