By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) – This story would be bad enough if we were all making more money, but that of course is not the case.

Real wages in this country have actually fallen over the past five years, making these numbers even harder to rationalize for many American workers.

The firm GMI Ratings tallied CEO compensation from last year and found that chief executives enjoyed a median pay raise of 8.5-percent. That includes base salary and returns from stock options and it’s gone up three straight years.

And again that’s just the median. Half of the more than 2,200 CEOs surveyed got even bigger raises. And the bigger the company, the fatter the cat. CEOs at companies listed in the S&P 500 saw a median increase of 20-percent.

That brings the total haul for these executives to $4.7 billion.

You can call this egregious. And many workers and shareholders would agree. But corporate boards of directors say these whopping salaries are the cost of doing business and retaining top talent.

But some deals are more difficult to justify than others. For the first time, all of the top-ten biggest payouts were valued at $100 million or more.

The biggest of the big is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The 29-year-old, who wears hoodies to work, made $2.3 billion, thanks largely to the IPO that many people lost money on.

But don’t expect this trend to end anytime soon.

I say that because a big chunk of executive compensation comes from executives cashing-in their stock options. And based on this year’s rally on Wall Street, CEOs will likely make a lot more when they cash in next year.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz


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