The wage gap between CEOs of American companies and their employees is widening: on average, the former earn 670 times more than seconds, and in some cases even 1,000 times more. In 2020 the ratio was ‘only’ 604 to 1.
According to the Institute for Policy Studies, according to which in 2021 the compensation of CEOs increased by 2.5 million dollars, settling on an average of 10.6 million. Workers’ wages, on the other hand, increased by $ 3,556 to $ 23,968 a year. Figures that photograph a reality made up of growing inequalities, in which the ultra-rich who represent 1% of the population are increasingly detached from the remaining 99% struggling with galloping inflation and with which they cannot keep up.
The three highest-paid CEOs in the sample of companies surveyed in the study are Andy Jassy of Amazon, Fabrizio Freda of Estee Lauder and Jay Snowden of Penn National Gaming. Jassy was paid a salary of 212.7 million last year, or 6,747 times the $ 32,855 that an average Amazon employee brings home. Freda, on the other hand, saw her remuneration increase by 258% in 2021 to 66 million, about 1,965 times a worker of Estee Lauder. Snowden, with its 65.9 million, earned 1,942 times more than one of its employees.
The increase in the wage gap is partly related to repurchase of own shares by listed companies. In 2021 billions of dollars were allocated to buyback plans which, if spent on employees, would in some cases have doubled their wages. Lowes, a company that operates in the retail sale of household goods, for example, has repurchased its securities for 13 billion: if it had distributed them among its 325,000 employees, it would have given them an increase of 40,000 dollars. But while top executives spent on buybacks, one of the ways to inflate super-manager wages, workers’ wages were reduced by 7.6% to $ 22,697. Americans are contributing indirectly, through the payment of taxes, to fill the gap. Of the 106 companies surveyed by the Institute for Policy Studies, 40% received funding from federal government contracts totaling $ 37.2 billion. These firms have a ratio of 571 to 1 in the compensation of their top managers and their employees.
The photograph taken by the studio, intended to fuel the debate on disparities and whet the desire for union among workers, also suggests solutions for Joe Biden. It goes from the stakes for federal contracts where wage gaps are too wide at higher taxes, passing through buyback limits. Popular roads among the progressive democrats but which, a few months before the mid-term elections, appear difficult to follow.

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