Press Release

Average S&P 500 Company CEO-to-Worker Pay Ratio Rises to 299-to-1 in 2020

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler Unveils Annual Executive Paywatch Report, Highlights Nation’s Levels of Vast Economic Inequality

(Washington, D.C., July 14, 2021)—2020’s growth in pay inequity between workers and CEOs confirms the “executive base salary reductions” touted during the COVID-19 crisis were just lip service, per this year’s AFL-CIO Executive Paywatch report, which was unveiled this morning by AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler. 

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. 

During a painstaking year of unspeakable loss and economic turmoil, where millions of working people lost their jobs through no fault of their own, this year’s report shows an S&P 500 CEO’s pay has increased, on average, by more than $700,000. 

“Working people bore the brunt of COVID-19 and its impact on the U.S. economy,” said Shuler during the report’s release. “Last year, the unemployment rate peaked at 14.7% in April, with a record 41 million layoffs in the United States. While many of those jobs have come back, there was a net loss of 9 million jobs in 2020.” 

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 Secretary-Treasurer Shuler’s full remarks here.

Contact: Carolyn Bobb (202) 637-5018