Abigail Disney has received a tremendous amount of media attention for calling out the pay disparity between Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger and the rank-and-file employees at the company that bears her grandfather’s name. Iger made over 1,000 times more than the median Disney employee in 2018. But he’s not alone.

Among public companies that make more than $1 billion in revenue, 12 companies have larger executive-to-worker pay ratios than Disney, according to an analysis by Equilar, an executive and board data provider.

In addition to Iger, nearly two dozen CEOs make over 1,000 times more than median employees, according to data from Equilar. The 2018 data includes both salaried and non-salaried employees and was compiled from public filings by Equilar and the New York Times in a report published in May.

Iger was granted a $65.6 million pay package last year. By contrast, hourly workers at the Disney parks in Orlando and Anaheim make an average of $19.50 an hour, and the median employee makes $46,127.

The company notes that its pay for park employees is “significantly above the federal minimum wage,” and the company provides a wide range of benefits and programs for its staff. “A full 90% of Mr. Iger’s compensation is performance-based,” the company said in a statement. “Mr. Iger’s results-driven compensation reflects the exceptional value he has created for the company, its shareholders and employees.”

The SEC recently adopted a new rule requiring companies to disclose, starting in 2017, how much their median employees are compensated compared to their CEOs and provide that number as a pay ratio.

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But a number of factors determine what constitutes a living wage, including benefits and the number of hours employees are allowed to work. Earning a living wage is at the heart of worker protests around the world.

The numbers that the SEC requires companies to report are imperfect. For example, the SEC allows companies to calculate their median employee’s pay as infrequently as once every three years. Companies are also allowed to exclude non-US employees that are citizens of countries where data privacy laws or regulations make companies unable to comply with the rule.

That means it’s difficult to make apples-to-apples comparisons from company to company. It’s also tough to know whether the median employee is making a living wage because we don’t know what their hours are.

Still, the pay ratios give a small glimpse at how everyday workers are compensated compared to the heads of the companies they work for.


Tesla’s Elon Musk boasted the highest potential pay ratio of 40,668:1 after becoming eligible for a pay package of $2.284 billion in equity over ten years. But the company did not meet any of its performance milestones last year, so Musk received no compensation. He tweeted in May that after paying for Tesla expenses, he was actually at “net negative” compensation.

“Elon actually earned $0 in total compensation from Tesla in 2018, and any reporting otherwise is incorrect and misleading,” the company said in a statement. If Musk manages to double Tesla’s market cap to $100 billion within ten years, he’ll receive the first portion of his reward.

The Gap: 3,566:1

Gap CEO Arthur Peck was granted 3,566 times more pay last year than the company’s median employee was. His pay package was worth $20.8 million in 2018, compared to the median employee who made $5,831.

Gap told CNN Business in a statement that the pay ratio reflects the company’s employee composition. It estimates that out of 135,000 employees, about 100,000 are sales associates, 97% of whom are part-time.

“Our median employee for fiscal year 2018 is a part-time sales associate in Maryland who made $5,831 last year,” Gap stated. “Given the composition of our workforce, we do not believe the pay ratio calculation required by the SEC provides a complete picture of our compensation practices — nor does it reflect the high value we place on our employees.”

Mattel: 3,408: 1

Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz’s pay package was worth nearly $17 million last year. The median employee in the company worked for a manufacturing facility in Indonesia and earned $5,489.

When reached for comment, Mattel directed CNN Business to its proxy statement, in which the company notes 82% of its total workforce is located outside the United States, and 65% of the workforce is in manufacturing. Its median worker in the United States earned more than $34,000.

Align Technology: 3,168: 1

Align Technology, the maker of Invisalign braces, lands itself on the list because of a pay ratio of 3,168 to 1. CEO Joseph Hogan’s pay package was worth $41.8 million while the median employee earned $13,180.

The median worker was an associate engineer in Align’s manufacturing facility in Mexico. Align noted in a proxy statement that it was “competitive pay” for such a position in Mexico. The company noted that excluding a one-time equity award, Hogan’s total compensation in 2018 was $14 million, putting the pay ratio at 1,076 to 1.

Align did not respond to a request for comment.

Chipotle: 2,450: 1

Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol was granted a pay package of $33.5 million in 2018. The median Chipotle worker made $13,779. Chipotle told CNN Business in a statement that pay matched performance and “under Brian’s leadership, Chipotle’s shares have hit a record high.”

Chipotle stated that Niccol’s compensation package “was based on a competitive analysis of CEO pay levels at our peer group” including a cash sign-on award and compensation for the unvested equity awards he had to forfeit when he left his past employer.

Williams-Sonoma: 2,447: 1

Williams-Sonoma CEO Laura Alber received a $27.3 million pay package in 2018. The median worker earned $11,137 — a part-time retail stock associate in Tennessee.

In a 2019 proxy statement, the company noted that after excluding part-time, temp and seasonal workers, the median worker’s wage would be $39,817 and the pay ratio would have been 684 to 1.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Skechers: 2,159: 1

Skechers CEO Robert Greenberg’s pay package was worth $27.4 million in 2018, while the median employee made $12,673.

Skechers wrote in a 2019 proxy statement that it has a “large global workforce” of mostly part-time retail employees who are paid hourly. “Accordingly, this had a significant impact on the amount of our CEO pay ratio,” it wrote.

Sketchers did not respond to a request for comment.

McDonald’s: 2,124: 1

McDonald’s CEO Stephen Easterbrook had a $15.9 million pay package last year, while the median employee made $7,473.

The median worker was a part-time restaurant crew employee in Hungary, the company said. In a proxy statement, McDonald’s stated that 91% of Easterbrook’s compensation depended on performance. It noted Easterbrook earned his reward for helping the company log 14 quarters of “comparable sales growth.”

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Western Digital: 1,795: 1

Western Digital, which owns SanDisk, reported Stephen Milligan was granted a $17.1 million pay package in 2018. The median employee was a manufacturing operator in Thailand earning $10,999.

Western Digital did not respond to a request for comment.

Estée Lauder: 1,690: 1

Estée Lauder CEO Fabrizio Freda had a $48.2 million pay package, while the median worker earned $28,845.

In its proxy statement, Estée Lauder wrote that part of the $48 million package was a performance-based equity award that Freda earned. Excluding that award, Freda would have earned about $21 million last year, bringing the pay ratio to 741:1, the company noted in the statement.

The company also noted that over 40% of its workers were part-time or temporary and over 60% were outside of the United States. It stated that changes in currency exchange rates could also impact the figures. The median worker was a retail employee outside the US who provides beauty advice.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Linde: 1,629: 1

Linde CEO Stephen Angel received a $17.3 million pay package last year, compared to the median employee who earned $40,601. The calculated pay ratio was 1,629 to 1.

Angel actually also received an accrued pension payment that brought his total 2018 compensation to $66 million. In its methodology Equilar excluded certain compensation aspects, but it kept the original company-calculated pay ratios.

Linde did not respond to a request for comment.

TJX Companies: 1,596: 1

TJX Companies, which owns T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, awarded its CEO Ernie Herrman an $18.4 million pay package. The median worker made $11,791, meaning the pay ratio was 1,596.

The median worker was a part-time hourly retail store associate. When reached for comment, TJX directed CNN Business to its proxy statement.

Discovery: 1,511: 1

Discovery CEO David Zaslav got a $129.5 million package last year, while the median worker made $85,704.

“We believe that our employees are fairly compensated and appropriately incentivized under our current pay practices,” Discovery stated in its proxy statement. It noted Zaslav received a one-time stock option grant in 2018 that bumped up his compensation. Without the grant, he would have earned over $35 million, for a pay ratio of 414 to 1.