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Here’s How Much More CEOs Earn Than Their Employees

It’s no surprise that CEOs earn more money than their employees, but how much more are they really taking in? Starting in 2017, public companies will be required to share the ratio of CEO to worker salaries, providing even more transparency into pay at some of the world’s biggest companies.

But before this starts, the Glassdoor Economic Research team analyzed S&P 500 companies to compare what their CEOs earn in total compensation vs. median total compensation for employees. Across these companies, the average CEO pay was $13.8 million per year, the average median worker pay was about $77,800, and the average ratio of CEO pay to median worker pay was 204. In other words, on average, CEOs earn 204 times more than what his or her employees earn. In addition, there are some CEOs who earn even more, and some CEOs who earn much less.

Here are the 10 companies where the ratio of CEO pay vs. employee pay is highest, along with the 10 companies where it’s lowest:

Top 10 Companies Where CEO Pay vs. Employee Pay Ratio is Highest

  1. Discovery Communications
  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 1,951
  • CEO David M. Zaslav pay: $156,077,912
  • Median employee pay: $80,000
  • Company rating: 3.8
  1. Chipotle
  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 1,522
  • CEO Steve Ells pay: $28,924,270
  • Median employee pay: $19,000
  • Company rating: 3.4
  1. CVS Health
  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 1,192
  • CEO Larry J. Merlo pay: $32,350,733
  • Median employee pay: $27,139
  • Company rating: 2.7
  1. Walmart
  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 1,133
  • CEO Douglas McMillon pay: $25,592,938
  • Median employee pay: $22,591
  • Company rating: 3.0
  1. Target
  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 939
  • CEO Brian C. Cornell pay: $28,164,024
  • Median employee pay: $30,000
  • Company rating: 3.2
  1. CBS Corporation
  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 862
  • CEO Leslie Moonves pay: $57,175,645
  • Median employee pay: $66,365
  • Company rating: 3.5
  1. Bed Bath & Beyond
  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 734
  • CEO Steven H. Temares pay: $19,116,040
  • Median employee pay: $26,047
  • Company rating: 2.9
  1. Macy’s
  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 724
  • CEO Terry J. Lundgren pay: $16,497,220
  • Median employee pay: $22,800
  • Company rating: 3.0
  1. Gap
  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 705
  • CEO Glenn Murphy pay: $16,064,312
  • Median employee pay: $22,800
  • Company rating: 3.6
  1. Starbucks
  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 669
  • CEO Howard D. Schultz pay: $21,466,454
  • Median employee pay: $32,080
  • Company rating: 3.8

Top 10 Companies Where CEO Pay vs. Employee Pay Ratio is Lowest

     1Fossil

  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 0
  • CEO Kosta N. Kartsotis pay: $0
  • Median employee pay: $32,570
  • Company rating: 3.4 

     2. Google

  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 0
  • CEO Larry Page pay: $1
  • Median employee pay: $153,150
  • Company rating: 4.4

     3. Kinder Morgan

  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 0
  • CEO Richard D. Kinder pay: $1
  • Median employee pay: $81,916
  • Company rating: 3.4 

     4. Symantec

  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 3
  • CEO Michael Brown pay: $376,364
  • Median employee pay: $124,474
  • Company rating: 3.3 

     5. Urban Outfitters

  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 3
  • CEO Richard A. Hayne pay: $68,487
  • Median employee pay: $19,898
  • Company rating: 3.3 

     6. Facebook

  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 4
  • CEO Mark Zuckerberg pay: $610,455
  • Median employee pay: $146,120
  • Company rating: 4.4

     7. TripAdvisor

  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 12
  • CEO Stephen Kaufer pay: $1,207,960
  • Median employee pay: $102,100
  • Company rating: 3.3

     8. Amazon

  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 15
  • CEO Jeff Bezos pay: $1,681,840
  • Median employee pay: $114,352
  • Company rating: 3.4

     9Waters

  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 16
  • CEO Douglas A. Berthiaume pay: $1,504,903
  • Median employee pay: $92,272
  • Company rating: 3.5

     10. Intuitive Surgical

  • CEO vs. employee pay ratio: 21
  • CEO Gary S. Guthart, Ph.D. pay: $2,617,963
  • Median employee pay: $125,073
  • Company rating: 3.8

What’s it like to work at your company and for your CEO? Share a review on Glassdoor.

For complete results of this study for all S&P 500 companies, along with methodology, caveats, and in-depth analysis, check out Glassdoor Economic Research.

Methodology

Companies included in this analysis are based on membership in the S&P 500 index. Total CEO compensation is directly from SEC proxy filing statements (form DEF 14A) as of 8/14/2015. CEOs were those listed as of 2014 or 2013, whichever is the most recent year available from company SEC filings. In cases when two or more CEOs are reported for the year, we show the CEO who served longest during that calendar year. In addition, in cases where two or more CEOs served equal time during that calendar year, we show the CEO who was current at the end of the year (December 31). SEC filings were not available for six of the 500 companies: Mylan N.V., Kraft Heinz Co., Columbia Pipeline Group Inc., Baxalta, PayPal and Westrock Co.

Figures for median worker compensation are based on Glassdoor salary reports for U.S. employees between 1/1/2009 through 8/17/2015, and are inflation adjusted into 2014 dollars. Total compensation includes base pay, tips, commissions, bonuses and all other forms of pay reported. Full-time and part-time employees are included in an effort to be consistent with SEC requirements. To ensure statistical validity, only companies with 30 or more Glassdoor salary reports shared by employees during this timeframe are included, which was available for 441 of the S&P 500 companies. For each employer, we also show the company rating on Glassdoor as of August 19, 2015 (Ratings based on a 5-point scale: 1.0=very dissatisfied, 3.0=OK, 5.0=very satisfied).