Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The median CEO pay raise was 4.5 percent from 2014—and that bump alone, nearly $470,000, is about ten times what the average U.S. worker makes in a year, the AP notes. (Photo: Alex Proimos/cc/flickr)

Average CEO Raise Last Year Amounted to 10x What Most Workers Made in Total

Amid 'disgraceful inequality,' Associated Press analysis finds that median compensation for top executives in 2015 was $10.8 million

Andrea Germanos

It was another banner year for chief executives at the biggest companies.

For its latest annual study of CEO compensation, the Associated Press, using data from Equilar, looked at what 341 executives at companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index brought home from salary as well as other perks like stock awards and deferred compensation.

The study found that the median compensation was $10.8 million, up from $10.3 million the CEOs took in the year before.

The median CEO pay raise was 4.5 percent from 2014—and that bump alone, nearly $470,000, is about ten times what the average U.S. worker makes in a year, the AP notes.

The top-paying industry was healthcare, with a median compensation of $14.5 million.

The CEO of Expedia, Dara Khosrowshahi, was both the highest paid CEO in 2015, raking in $94.6 million, as well as the CEO with the biggest raise, up 881 percent from the year before.

The AP/Equilar study comes on the heels of the AFL-CIO's most recent figures on its Executive PayWatch, showing that the average CEO of an S&P 500 company in 2015 brought home 335 times more money than the average worker, while the Economic Policy Institute noted last year that "inflation-adjusted CEO compensation increased from $1.5 million in 1978 to $16.3 million in 2014, or 997 percent," compared to the inflation-adjusted compensation for the "average private-sector production and nonsupervisory worker [which] rose from $48,000 in 1978 to just $53,200 in 2014, an increase of only 10.9 percent."

"The income inequality that exists in this country is a disgrace," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka last week. "We must stop Wall Street CEOs from continuing to profit on the backs of working people."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Bloodbath': At Least 6 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Mass Shooting at Illinois July 4th Parade

"What freedom do we have if we fear being gunned down at a parade?" asked one progressive politician horrified by the reported carnage.

Brett Wilkins ·


On This July 4th, Abortion Rights Movement Says 'We're Not in the Mood for Fireworks'

"If we don’t have the ability to make decisions about if, when, and how to grow our families—we don't have freedom."

Brett Wilkins ·


Deadly Glacier Collapse in Italy 'Linked Directly to Climate Change'

At least seven people were killed when a glacier slid down a mountainside near a popular climbing route in the Alps on Sunday.

Julia Conley ·


'Organized Whitewash': US Claims Israeli Military's Murder of Journalist Not Intentional

"The odds that those responsible for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh will be held to account are all but nonexistent," said the human rights group B'Tselem in response to findings of U.S. State Department.

Brett Wilkins ·


Hundreds March in Akron Enraged by Police Killing of Jayland Walker

"The police can do whatever they want," said one local resident through tears. "They can take our children's lives and think it's okay."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo