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8 Facts from the 2021 Executive Paywatch Report You Need to Know

Executive Paywatch 2021

Last year was a challenging one for working people. The COVID-19 pandemic put millions out of work through no fault of their own, and the financial impact on working people will be felt for years to come—unless you were a CEO of a large company. During a painstaking year of unspeakable loss and economic turmoil, the AFL-CIO's 2021 Executive Paywatch report shows that the average S&P 500 CEO saw their pay increase by more than $700,000 last year. The Executive Paywatch website, the most comprehensive, searchable online database that tracks CEO pay, shows that the CEO of an S&P 500 company received, on average, $15.5 million in total compensation in 2020. The average S&P 500 company CEO-to-worker pay ratio was 299-to-1. 

Here are eight facts from the 2021 Executive Paywatch report you need to know:

  1. In 2020, CEOs of S&P 500 companies received, on average, $15.5 million in total compensation.
  2. The average S&P 500 company CEO-to-worker pay ratio was 299-to-1.
  3. The average S&P 500 CEO's pay grew $712,720 last year.
  4. Over the past decade, the average S&P 500 CEO's pay has increased by $2.6 million.
  5. The average pay ratio in "right to work" states was 173-to-1, while the ratio in free bargaining states was 133-to-1.
  6. The worst industry, in terms of CEO-to-worker pay is the consumer discretionary sector (including companies like, where the ratio was 741-to-1.
  7. Other industries with the largest discrepancies between CEO and worker pay were: consumer staples (383-to-1), communication services (334-to-1), information technology (315-to-1) and health care (253-to-1).
  8. Over the past decade, the average CEO pay at S&P 500 companies increased by an average of $260,000 a year. Meanwhile the average wage for production and nonsupervisory workers grew an average of only $957 per year in that same time.

Our nation’s growing levels of inequality showcase the importance of passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, a monumental labor law reform bill currently in the U.S. Senate. The PRO Act will remove barriers to organizing and transform our economic system into one that works for all workers, not just corporate interests and billionaires.

Read the full Executive Paywatch report.

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