CEO compensation and CEO-to-worker compensation ratio, 1965–2011 (2011 dollars)

CEO annual compensation (thousands)* Worker annual compensation (thousands) Stock market indices (infla-tion-adjusted) CEO-to-worker compensation ratio***
Options realized Options granted Private-sector Firms’ industry** S&P 500 Dow Jones Options realized Options granted
1965 $791 $750 $38 n/a  511  5,278 20.1 18.3
1973 1,033 980 45.8 n/a  451  3,881 22.1 20.1
1978 1,413  1,341 47.6 n/a  282  2,411 29.0 26.5
1989 2,631 2,496 44.0 n/a  525  4,081 58.5 53.3
1995  5,570  6,177 43.6 49.8  737  6,120 122.6 136.8
2000  19,482  19,977 45.9 52.0  1,730  13,006 383.4 411.3
2007  17,919  12,484 48.2 52.2  1,487  13,268 351.7 244.1
2008  17,491  11,648 48.4 53.0  1,183  10,902 314.9 225.7
2009  10,036  9,639 50.5 55.4  923  8,648 193.1 181.5
2010  12,042  11,003 50.9 56.0  1,092  10,215 228.0 205.9
2011  12,141  11,082 50.3 55.4  1,268  11,958 231.0 209.4
Percent change  Change in ratio
1978–2011 759.3% 726.7% 5.7% n/a 349.1% 395.9% 202.0 182.9
1965–1978 78.7 78.7 23.7 n/a -44.7 -54.3 8.9 8.1
1978–2000 1,278.8 1,390.3 -3.6 n/a 513.0 439.3 354.4 384.9
2000–2011 -37.7 -44.5 9.7 6.6% -26.7 -8.1 -152.4 -201.9

* "Options realized" compensation series includes salaries, bonuses, restricted stock grants, options exercised, and long-term incentive payouts for CEOs at the top 350 firms ranked by sales. "Options granted" compensation series includes salaries, bonuses, restricted stock grants, options granted, and long-term incentive payouts for CEOs at the top 350 firms ranked by sales.

** Annual compensation of production and nonsupervisory workers in the key industry of the firms in the sample

*** Based on averaging specific firm CEO-to-worker compensation ratios and not the ratio of averages of CEO and worker compensation

Source: Authors' analysis of data from Compustat ExecuComp database, Federal Reserve Economic Data (Stock Market Indexes), Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics, and Bureau of Economic Analysis National Income and Product Accounts

View the underlying data on epi.org.