Many of Ohio's top CEOs make more than 300 times what their average employees are paid, a new report by Policy Matters Ohio has found. Data reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that the median salary for CEOs at the 54 Ohio corporations that filed reports was $14.6 million.
Most of these corporations paid their CEO more than 200 times what they paid typical employees and more than a quarter of them paid their CEO more than 500 times as much. At six companies, even wider disparities were reported. At those, the CEO was paid more than 1,000 times their median employee.
At 16 of these 54 Ohio corporations, the median salary was below the federal poverty level for a family of four ($25,000).
“Whether a janitor keeping the office clean and safe or a Fortune 500 CEO cutting deals in the board room, it takes everyone to make an enterprise run,” said Policy Matters Researcher Michael Shields, in a press release about the new report. “Many Ohioans are risking their health to perform critical jobs. Many others have been laid off. Meanwhile, CEOs at major Ohio employers are insulated from the ways their workforce experiences the pandemic.”
In the most extreme cases, the median employee of these corporations are part-time workers earning hourly wages. Ohio-based Abercrombie & Fitch, for example, pays CEO Fran Horowitz 3,250 times more than the typical employees, who tend to be retail workers earning $10 or $11 per hour.
The report noted that year by year, it's not only CEO pay that continues to rise, but the ratio between executives and their typical employees. This illustrates the widening gulf between society's top earners and everyone else. In 1965, nationwide, CEOs made roughly 20 times more than their average employees. Last year, they made 320 times more than their average employees.
“Corporations are increasing CEO pay faster than the economy is growing, while holding down pay for most workers,” said Shields. “This is not about productivity or skills: It’s about CEOs’ ability to set their own pay. Policymakers don’t have to stand for it."
The report suggested a number of policy solutions, including increasing taxes on corporations with large CEO-to-employee pay ratios and, at the state and local level, disqualifying those corporations for economic development subsidies.