Chief executive officers (CEOs) of the largest firms in the U.S. earn far more today than they did in the mid-1990s and many times what they earned in the 1960s or late 1970s. They also earn far more than the typical worker, and their pay has grown much more rapidly.
Chief executives at America’s largest companies don’t get paid the way the average worker does. Beyond a set salary, CEOs’ compensation packages include other forms of income, such as bonuses, company stock options, and long-term incentive payouts, which can vary based on performance and the status of the stock market.
But as the coronavirus pandemic lays bare the country’s economic inequalities, critics again point out the reality obscured by the rebounding stock market: An economy that’s working extraordinarily well for some but less so for many others.