CEOs across the U.S. are expected to set a new record in earnings as COVID-19 restrictions ease and wages rise, with the majority of chief executives seeing a pay raise of at least 11% in the past year.
The median pay for the heads of S&P 500 companies increased to $14.2 million in 2021, according to the Wall Street Journal. The median increase is approximately $800,000 more than the same companies’ previous record of $13.4 million, set in 2020, the outlet reported.
2021 is shaping up as another record year for CEO pay — and the pay gap is getting wider between CEOs and typical employees at the same companies. My latest on @wsj https://t.co/ry5yoTK0JK @WSJbusiness pic.twitter.com/LLiaLGBdLo
— Theo Francis (@theofrancis) April 4, 2022
The majority of CEOs obtained an 11% pay raise in the past year, while roughly a third of that group saw a sharper increase of 25%, according to the Journal. Meanwhile, approximately 25% of CEOs saw a decrease in their pay, the outlet reported. (RELATED: Executives Received Record Pay Amid Pandemic In 2020)
The executive pay increase coincides with a general wage increase for their employees, though employee wages did not go up as sharply, according to the Journal. Employees of the companies saw on average a 3.5% median increase in their pay, the outlet reported.
Department of Labor (DOL) statistics show U.S. hourly wages increased by 4.9% in 2021 while unemployment rate decreased to 3.6% according to the Journal. The increased gap between CEO and employee earnings was greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw millions of Americans leave the workforce, the outlet reported.
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, who filled the role after former CEO Jeff Bezos stepped down in 2021, is so far the second highest paid CEO in the S&P 500, according to the Journal. Jassy earned roughly $213 million while the median Amazon employee earned $32,855 in 2021, the outlet reported. Amazon stated that the company raised its starting wage to $18 per hour, according to the outlet.