The difference between CEO and median employee pay grew in 2020 despite the Covid pandemic and ongoing relief efforts.
The average S&P 500 company CEO made 299 times the average worker's salary last year, according to AFL-CIO's annual Executive Paywatch report. Executives received $15.5 million in total compensation on average, marking an increase of more than $260,000 per year over the past decade. At the same time, the average production and nonsupervisory worker in 2020 earned $43,512, up just $957 a year over the past decade.
Both average compensation and pay ratios grew in 2020 during the pandemic. Executives' average total compensation increased more than $700,000 last year while CEO-to-worker pay ratios increased from 264:1 in 2019.
"This is consistent with what we've been seeing year to year," Liz Schuler, AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer, said in a press conference with reporters Wednesday. "Inequality, the imbalance in our economy, is clear by this report that the pay of CEOs and working people continues to be a major problem in this country."
The highest-compensated CEO in 2020 was Chad Richison of Paycom (PAYC), who received more than $200 million in salary and stock awards that vest over time. Other companies with executives topping the list of highest-paid CEOs include General Electric (GE), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN), Hilton (HLT), T-Mobile (TMUS), Nike (NKE), Microsoft (MSFT) and Netflix (NFLX).