Equilar Report: CEO Pay Increased by Nearly 20% Across 500 Largest Companies

July 21, 2022


REDWOOD CITY, CA (July 21, 2022)— CEO pay at the 500 largest U.S. companies by revenue increased by 18.9% in 2021, according to the 2022 edition of Equilar’s CEO Pay Trends report, which features commentary from Meridian Compensation Partners. Median compensation for Equilar 500 CEOs soared to $14.2 million, rebounding strongly from pandemic declines.

The annual publication on CEO compensation analyzes data on how pay packages are structured. According to the analysis, the median value of stock awards increased by 12.3% in 2021, and the median annual cash bonus rose by 29.3%. While compensation for chief executives has bounced back above pre-pandemic levels, the long-term outlook for compensation packages remains unclear due to several factors.

“With macroeconomic factors complicating visibility over the next twelve months, it will be interesting to watch CEO pay trends in the short-term,” said Adam Hearn, Senior Consultant at Meridian Compensation Partners. “Record inflation, stock market volatility, the conflict in the Ukraine, ongoing supply chain uncertainty and the prospect of a recession may impact companies’ eagerness to increase CEO compensation.”

Other findings from the report include:

  • The technology sector saw the largest increase in CEO pay, rising by 42.1% to $19.1 million in 2021, followed by the energy sector (39.3%)

  • The median equity mix was 62.1% performance-based and 37.9% time-based in 2021, continuing a trend seen since 2019 of increased performance equity

  • The median Equilar 500 CEO Pay Ratio increased by 9.5% from 190:1 in 2020 to 208:1 in 2021

  • In 2021, 56.5% of Equilar 500 CEOs reached between target and maximum in their bonus payout structure, the first year of the study period that saw an increase year over year

For more findings, contact us or request the full report.

About Equilar

Equilar is the leading provider of corporate leadership data solutions. Companies of all sizes rely on Equilar for their most important business decisions, including 70% of the Fortune 500 and institutional investors representing over $20 trillion in assets. Equilar offers data-driven solutions for business development, recruiting, executive compensation and shareholder engagement that bring together business leaders to drive exceptional results. Founded in 2000, Equilar is cited regularly by Associated Press, Bloomberg, CNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other leading media outlets. Learn more at www.equilar.com.

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