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PayScale Presents CEO Pay in Perspective


When you picture the lifestyle afforded to the CEO of a multinational company, you probably think expensive sports cars, corporate jets, and multimillion-dollar paychecks. No one said it was easy to run an empire, but the many perks awarded to various CEOs certainly help ease the stress.PayScale recently released our “CEO Pay in Perspective” list, which examines the ratio of CEO to worker pay for various companies as well as pay structure across the board. Examples from our data include Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke, who takes home $23,150,000 in non-stock compensation compared to the median worker’s salary of $22,400 – That’s a 1,034:1 ratio, for those of you who were wondering. WalMart also pays -1% below market – not as bad as others, but certainly not the most lucrative salary one could strive for.

The Walt Disney Company is another worth mentioning. CEO Bob Iger commands a respectable $31,630,000, versus the average employee’s $56,800. Even with CEO to employee pay ratio of 557:1, Disney pays +8% above market, and boasts high levels of employee satisfaction. Mickey would be very proud.

Believe it or not, there are some fairly large and successful companies where the CEO to worker ratio is a little more balanced. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly earns $1,370,000, compared to the median worker salary of $110,000. That’s a 12:1 ratio, for anyone who was curious. Microsoft also pays at +17% above market – undoubtedly good news for prospective employees.

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The most surprising ratio featured in PayScale’s infographic belongs to Google, where CEO Larry Page boasts a 0:1 CEO to employee pay ratio. This is not too difficult when your $1 salary is going up against the median $102,000 that most employees take home.

Are you scratching your head after reading that last paragraph? You read it correctly; Larry Page has a $1 salary. A quick Google-ing of his net worth (we use Bing for Steve Ballmer) shows us that he is valued somewhere in the area of $23 billion, which sounds far more accurate. How do all these numbers add up, you ask?

PayScale’s methodology examines the CEOs’ annual cash compensation, so stock options and equity compensation, health benefits, and other lucrative factors aren’t included. So just because Larry Page technically only gets $1 from Google, we wouldn’t say he’s hurting. Neither are his employees either, since they earn the highest median salary on our list and are tied for second when it comes to Job Satisfaction, with 83% of their employees reporting extremely high or very high job satisfaction.

Another low earner (compared to other CEOs) was Amazon‘s Jeff Bezos. Mr. Bezos earned $1,680,000 last year according to our chart. While this CEO famously takes a salary of just $81,800 from, but a big chunk of the difference comes from the exorbitant “travel and security” costs he incurs. Somebody sure knows how to travel in style!

What did you think of PayScale’s CEO Pay in Perspective list? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comment section below.

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