Woman Breaks Down Just How Much More CEOs Get Paid Than Workers And Why

Mason Joseph Zimmer
woman in glasses pointing upwards during TikTok video
TikTok | @emmaisafeminist

While most of us have noticed that the early dreams of the internet being a public sphere for communities to educate each other were overly optimistic, we can nonetheless find examples of ordinary people helping each other out with valuable information.

And much of the time, those with experience in certain fields are letting us know what to watch out for in certain aspects of our lives and the pitfalls of their careers.

It's through their stories and advice and we can get a sense of why so many teachers are leaving the profession and what red flags to look for when we're seeking a positive work environment.

But sometimes, the information we can get from our peers can be a little more abstract and speak to our society at large. And since we spend a lot of our lives at work, what they have to tell us is often very relevant to that aspect of our lives.

And one woman's video does a lot to show us the value of remaining curious and probing further when we're told "that's just the way things are."

On March 25, a woman named Emma Robins uploaded a video to TikTok that sought to remind us how vast the gap between a CEO's earnings and that of the average employee is.

woman in glasses pointing upwards during TikTok video
TikTok | @emmaisafeminist

And she set the tone of what she found right off the bat by saying, "Welcome back to rich people aren't your friends and they don't work harder than you. And this is especially true in the good old U.S. of A."

Because while she would go on to establish that the United Kingdom also has a wide disparity between these compensation rates, the U.S. numbers are both more relevant for our purposes and more extreme.

To establish both this wage gap and how it's ballooned over the years, Robins averaged out the pay awarded to CEOS and to the median worker within the Standard and Poor's top 500 companies since 1965.

woman in glasses breaks down ratio of CEO pay to that of the median worker in TikTok video
TikTok | @emmaisafeminist

And as we can see here, a CEO who would have made 20 times as much as the median worker in 1965 was more likely to make 350 times as much as the median by 2020.

Even after factors such as taxes and the fact that most of a CEOs' compensation tends to be tied up in stocks are applied, that still leaves the average CEO with $4.6 million in immediate take-home pay compared to the median worker's $44,000.

Robins also reminded us that we shouldn't discount the $17 million that the average CEO would accrue in stocks per annum.

woman in glasses breaks down percentages of pay growth since 1978
TikTok | @emmaisafeminist

After all, just because they can't access or use it at a moment's notice, that doesn't mean it stops counting as wealth than can eventually become liquid assets.

As we can see here, Robins also explained that the way compensations for CEOs have grown over the years isn't simply the result of inflation as it remains widely disproportionate to how the pay of other high earning professionals and the stock market at large have grown since 1978.

To further underscore this point, the median worker's pay has only increased by 18% over the same period of time.

And while a common response to these disproportionate rates is that CEOs are paid so highly because of their skills or their effect on the productivity of a business, Robins explained that this is a dangerous assumption.

Because as she put it, the CEOs themselves are the ones empowered to decide what they should take home.

And The Atlantic reported, this remains true even if they don't directly make that decision due to the market rates of competitors and the leverage CEOs hold over their boards of directors in terms of control over a company's resources and the information thereof.

Are they going to tell you they don't deserve it? Why would they?