CEOs’ Pay Increases in 2023 Widen Income Gap With Workers

The average salary for a company’s chief executive officer (CEO) soared by 13% in 2023, thus producing an even greater income gap between top executives and the workers they employ.

According to ABC News, a data analysis by Equilar for the Associated Press revealed that the median compensation package for a CEO rose in 2023 to $16.3 million, marking a 12.6% increase. At the same time, wages and benefits for the average worker rose by just 4.1%. At half of the companies included in the Equilar survey, it would take one worker at least 200 years to make the same amount of money that their CEO makes.

This research comes at a time when inflation is continuing to crush most Americans financially, leading to reduced spending due to the higher costs of basic goods such as gasoline and groceries. But CEOs gave themselves massive pay boosts in the midst of historic inflation, with at least two dozen CEOs in the AP survey giving themselves pay increases of 50% or more. One element of many of these pay package increases included CEOs gifting themselves stock awards; the average stock award increased by 11% in 2023, while regular bonuses increased by a mere 2.7%.

“In this post-pandemic market, the desire is for boards to reward and retain CEOs when they feel like they have a good leader in place,” said Kelly Malafis, founding partner of Compensation Advisory Partners. “That all combined kind of leads to increased compensation.”

But left-wing commentators claim that the increased pay gap could lead to greater disillusion with the economy among the average worker, demoralizing employees further as their superiors make even higher amounts of money despite the ongoing inflation crisis.

“Most of the focus here is on inflation, which people are really feeling, but they’re feeling the pain of inflation more because they’re not seeing their wages go up enough,” said Sarah Anderson, director of the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

The study by the AP and Quilar focused on pay data for 341 executives at S&P 500 companies, all of whom have served at least two consecutive fiscal years at their respective companies. The companies in question have all filed proxy statements between January 1st and April 30th.

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

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