A new report published by Equilar, a source for corporate leadership data, on Monday, shows that the median compensation of CEOs reached $20 million in 2021, an increase of 31% over the previous year. The study covered the 100 largest U.S. companies by revenue that filed proxy statements by March 31.
The Covid-19 pandemic is one of the primary factors that lead to these changes. As a means of easing the burden their employees were facing during this unprecedented period, for instance, some companies altered their executive compensation and incentive plans. As a result, some CEOs had their salaries lowered, their bonus payouts adjusted, and their long-term incentive plans changed.
Across all components of pay, there were increases. stock awards increased by 22.7% in 2021, from $8.6 million to $10.5 million. Meanwhile, cash bonuses increased by 46.4% in 2021, from $2.8 million to $4.2 million.
Among the top 10 highest-paid CEOs are Patrick P. Gelsinger, Tim Cook, Hock E. Tan, Satya Nadella and Thomas M. Rutledge.
The study also found that the CEO Pay Ratio is once again on the rise. As CEO compensation increases, the CEO Pay Ratio, the ratio of CEO compensation to that of the median worker, is also on the rise. The median CEO Pay Ratio was 254:1 and that of the previous year was 238:1 marking a significant increase.
Workers at Equilar 100 companies earned $71,869 in 2021 as compared to $68,935 in 2020. According to the company, this is partly due to companies providing bonuses and other cash payouts in the recovering pandemic economy, which saw an increase in consumer demand along with a tightened labor market.
Additionally, the report notes that fewer than ten women lead Equilar 100 companies. In 2021, nine women held the title of CEO, a slight increase from six in the previous year’s study. None of these women ranked among the top 10 highest-paid executives.