business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Here's an equation for you:  670-to-1.

Fast Company reports that "at the 300 publicly held U.S. corporations with the lowest median wages, the gap between what CEOs and median-wage workers earn has grown to a ratio of 670-to-1, according to a new report—up from 604-to-1 in 2020.

"That’s just the average gap; the ratio at 49 of those 300 companies is larger than 1,000-to-1, according to the progressive think tank Institute for Policy Studies, which released its annual Executive Excess report on Tuesday."

The story goes on:  "While CEOs at those 300 corporations saw their pay increase by $2.5 million in 2021 - to an average of $10.6 million - median pay at those companies went up by only $3,556, to an average of $23,968. At more than a third of those firms, median pay didn’t even keep up with the 4.7% average inflation rate in 2021."

And, "At those 106 companies where worker pay didn’t keep pace with inflation, 67 companies - nearly two-thirds - spent resources buying back their own stocks, a tactic used to inflate the price of shares, and which then inflates executive stock-based pay."

I don't begrudge CEOs their pay.

But I have to wonder how many of those CEOs are working furiously to drive down their labor costs, or minimize the amount they spend on their workers.

I wonder how many of these CEOs favor labor deals that don't even keep up with inflation, much less reward their front line employees to a far lesser degree than they themselves are being rewarded?  (If median pay didn't keep up with 2021's rate of inflation, y'think it'll keep with inflation this year and next?)

What I don't wonder about is why some people leave their jobs, feeling that they are being disrespected and undervalued.  

These numbers are the very definition of an Eye-Opener … and I am reminded of a relevant proverb:  "There are none so blind as those who will not see."