As income inequality in the U.S. continues to dominate economic headlines, it should come as little surprise that CEO pay is hitting record highs, according to a new Associated Press/Equilar study. While the S&P 500 notched a 30% gain in 2013, chief executives saw their compensation packages soar to the eight-figure mark for the first time, with median pay coming in at a cool $10.5 million, up 8.8% from 2012. Stock rewards alone grew 17% on the year, to $4.5 million.Given the 1.3% rise in salary the average U.S. employee received last year, these latest figures should help keep the pay disparity conversation going strong.
Of course, there’s also plenty of disparity within the rarefied CEO universe, with a $36.8 million compensation gap between just the top and 10th-highest earners on AP’s list. Anthony Petrello, CEO of oilfield-services company Nabors Industries (NBR), was at the head of the earning class in 2013, with a package worth $68.3 million. However, without the lump sum of $60 million Nabors paid to buy him out of his old contract, his income would have come in below the eight-figure median. CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, who came in at number two after topping the list in 2012, made $65.6 million as the company’s shares rose close to 70%.
*2013 CEO to average worker pay ratio calculated based on AFL-CIO analysis of 350 available companies in the S&P 500. Average worker pay according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data for production and nonsupervisory workers.