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There is an alarming and growing divide between the top of the org chart in Corporate America, and the bottom. The Senior Executives – the CEO and those within one or two steps of that position, are becoming an increasingly elitist group.
The Institute for Policy Studies recently released the 17th Annual Executive Pay Compensation Report, which shows that CEO pay has skyrocketed since the early 90’s (shortly after many corporations abandoned their full employment policies). When adjusted for inflation, CEO pay more than doubled from the 80’s to the 90’s, and more than doubled again from the 90’s to the 2000’s. In 2009, median CEO pay was $8.5 million, compared with $1.8 million in the 1980’s.
But what abut the employees of these companies?
The study notes that workers are taking home less in real wages than they did in the 1970’s. And then there is the nearly 10% unemployment rate, a fact that these outrageously overpaid CEOs have contributed to – big time. Fact: the most highly compensated CEOs laid off the most workers.
What does this great divide look like? Here are a few examples:
- The senior executive is worried about whether he will get his entire multi-million dollar bonus this year, while the employee is worried about how he is going to pay off his debt.
- The senior executive is worried about how well-positioned he is for the next CEO job, while the employee is worried about how long he will be able to keep his job.
- While the senior executive is comfortable in his lavish gated community home, the employee is struggling to save enough for a down payment on a house.
- Disgraced CEOs leave their posts with multi-million dollar severance packages, while the laid-off worker is left to scrape by with unemployment payments and a few months of salary – if they are lucky.
Photo by Kyle Simourd