For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Sarah Anderson, report author and Global Economy Project Director, Institute for Policy Studies,

Domenica Ghanem, Communications Coordinator,

Wall Street Bonus Pool Dwarfs Minimum Wage Earnings and Contributes to Racial and Gender Inequality

Just-released figures from the New York State Comptroller show Wall Street banks handed out $23.9 billion in bonuses to their New York City-based employees last year. According to an Institute for Policy Studies analysis of these figures:

- The total bonus pool for 177,000 Wall Street employees was 1.6 times the combined annual earnings of all 1,075,000 U.S. full-time minimum wage workers.

- The average Wall Street bonus increased by 1 percent last year to $138,210. Since 1985, the nominal value of the average Wall Street bonus has increased 890 percent, whereas the minimum wage has risen only 116 percent.

- The much faster increase in Wall Street bonuses has contributed to racial and gender inequality, since workers at the bottom of the wage scale are predominantly people of color and female, whereas those in the financial industry’s upper echelons are overwhelmingly white and male. 

o   At the five largest investment banks, the share of executives and top managers who are white ranges from 84-87 percent, and the share who are male ranges from 66-84 percent.

o   Only 44 percent of minimum wage workers are white and 37 percent are male. 

- The 2016 bonus pool held enough dollars to lift the pay of any one of these groups of low-wage workers up to $15 per hour: 

o   all of the country’s 3.1 million restaurant servers and bartenders,

o   all 1.7 million home health and personal care aides, or

o   all 3.2 million fast food preparation and serving workers  

Link to full report: Off the Deep End: The Wall Street Bonus Pool and Low-Wage Workers.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Institute for Policy Studies turns Ideas into Action for Peace, Justice and the Environment. We strengthen social movements with independent research, visionary thinking, and links to the grassroots, scholars and elected officials. I.F. Stone once called IPS "the think tank for the rest of us." Since 1963, we have empowered people to build healthy and democratic societies in communities, the US, and the world. Click here to learn more, or read the latest below.

Share This Article