At the nation's largest corporations, the pay of CEOs was up sharply in 2010. That should come as no surprise, really, considering that the stock market has been pretty strong, and U.S. corporate profits are at all-time high levels. But for the record, the benefits consulting firm of Towers Watson has looked at the numbers, and reports corner-office comp was up 17 percent last year.
This news come to us from the proxy statements of large corporations, which are required to report the pay of their top officers. (However, I don't think the rules require reporting the highest salaries, if they go to some super salesman or trader who is not in the ranks of senior management, so the biggest numbers might be even bigger.) The Towers Watson analysis found that the median total cash compensation, which includes base salary, as well as annual and discretionary bonus payments, increased 17% for CEOs in 2010. That compares with a 3% median increase in 2009.
The Towers Watson report continues:
Nearly three out of four CEOs (72%) received bonuses in excess of 100% of their 2010 target annual bonus. That's the largest percentage of CEOs to have received more than 100% of their target bonus since 2007. Conversely, less than one in 10 CEOs (8%) either received no bonus or less than half of their target bonus, a sharp decline from 21% the previous year.Great that so many were able to beat their targets. In the meantime, average wages in the U.S. are not climbing as fast -- the March 2011 Employment Situation from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that average weekly earnings were $784.44, up 2.3 percent from a year earlier. The BLS also reports that broad inflation was up 2.1 percent in 12 months ending in February 2011.
The rest of us happy to still have what jobs we have, and pulling hard just to stay even.