The difference in compensation between CEOs and the average workers trended upward in 2020, according to a new report by a labor union released on Wednesday.
According to the AFL-CIO’s Executive Paywatch report, the average S&P 500 CEO made $15.5 million in 2020, and chief executives made 299 times more than the average employee's salary.
According to the labor union, in 2019, the average CEO-to-worker pay ratio of S&P 500 companies was 264-1. Total compensation of chief executives rose by more than $700,000 on average in 2020 compared to 2019.
The communication services industry was the industry that had the highest average CEO pay at $28,283,727 in 2020. However, the industry with the highest average pay ratio was “consumer discretionary.”
Though some chief executives — including those at Disney and Texas Roadhouse Inc. — had announced during the pandemic that they would be cutting their salaries or forgoing them completely, the labor union noted that chief executives still saw notable gains in pay.
Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler noted during a press call Wednesday regarding the report that while CEO base salaries were slightly lower “the average S&P 500 company CEO’s stock-based pay increased by over $1 million. And that doesn’t even factor in the dramatic rise in the stock market we saw in the second half of the year.”
Additionally, she noted that chief executives saw their pay increase at a slightly higher rate over the past year than that of their average employee.
"On average, in 2020 at S&P 500 companies, CEO pay increased by 5 percent while the disclosed median employee’s pay at those same companies only increased by 1 percent," she said.