While big businesses might be balking at performing all the supposedly complicated math it would require to figure out the ratio between what the CEO makes versus the average employee, the folks at the AFL-CIO just decided to go ahead and figure it out for them.
In the group’s latest Executive Paywatch report, it takes the reported compensation for CEOs from 327 companies in the S&P 500, then compares them to average employee pay for 2012, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The result: It takes 354 of your average worker to earn what a single CEO receives, with the average CEO collecting more than $12.25 million and the average worker making less than $35,000 a year.
Of course, CEO compensation isn’t all cash. It includes stock options and other forms of compensation; and the average worker number doesn’t account for things like employee contributions to 401(k) plans, but even adding a very generous 10% matching contribution to every employee would still only bring the ratio down to around 319:1.
The disparity is further emphasized when you see that this CEO: worker ratio has grown so much in the last three decades. In 1982, it was 42:1. Ten years later, that gulf widened significantly to 201:1, expanding to 281:1 in 2002.
The report also allows readers to compare how this ratio stacks up in other countries. Just a few random samplings:
France — 104:1 ($3.97M:$38K)
Canada — 206:1 ($8.7M:$42K)
Germany — 147:1 ($5.9M:$40K)
UK — 84:1 ($3.76M:$45K)
If you’re curious about what CEOs of companies in your neck of the woods are earning, the report also has an interactive map that breaks down the surveyed companies in each state.