Study Shows CEO Pay Up 535% in 1990s

August 31, 2000 ( - Compensation for Chief Executive Officers soared 535% during the 1990s, without adjusting for inflation, according to a new study. During the same period average worker pay increased just 32%, while inflation rose 27%.

The group’s seventh annual report found that if pay levels for workers increased at the same rate as CEOs’, the annual pay would average $114,035 a year, rather than its current $23,753.

If the minimum wage had risen as fast, it would now stand at $24.13/hour, rather than the current $5.15.

The “Executive Excess 2000” study conducted by the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy also noted that the S&P 500 rose 297% during the period.

Different Options

It found the top executives of 50 top Internet companies surveyed by Fortune magazine held on average $234.9 million in unrealized options at the end of their fiscal years, compared to $32.5 million for 355 CEOs representing a cross-section of leading U.S. firms.

The total combined value of the Fortune e-50s’ unrealized options was $11.7 billion – about five times the worth of the bottom one-third of U.S. households. Sixty-four nations have Gross Domestic Products less than that.

The study also notes that since 1960, the ratio between average CEOs’ pay and that of the American president has jumped from 2 to 1 to 62 to 1.