Back around 1980, big-time corporate CEOs in the United States took home just over 40 times the pay of average American workers. Today’s average American CEO from a Fortune 500 company makes 364 times an average worker’s pay and over 70 times the pay of a four-star Army general. Another example of this growing leadership pay gap: Last year, the top 20 earners in the most lucrative corner of America’s business sector, the private equity and hedge fund world, pocketed 680 times more in rewards for their labors than the nation’s 20 highest-paid leaders of nonprofit institutions pocketed for theirs.
Most Americans, over recent years, have become aware that business leaders make enormously more than the workers they employ. The gap between business leaders and other leaders in our society has received considerably less attention. This report, our 14th annual examination of executive excess, seeks to remedy that situation.