Washington, DC — Government watchdog Accountable.US released a new report finding several major corporations that have publicly complained about labor shortages — including Hilton, Nike, Whirlpool, Five Below and Acuity Brands — have seen their CEO-worker pay gap widen substantially in recent years. The data suggests executives may have an easier time filling jobs if they started paying more competitive wages, rather than compensating themselves millions more.
“Before big-name corporate CEOs bemoan labor shortages, they should first ask themselves whether they’re offering their workers a competitive wage – especially executives getting compensated hundreds if not thousands of times more than their current employees,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “If not, these executives might find more success in their search for workers if they simply look in the mirror and start offering better wages and benefits.”
- Hilton’s CFO complained about how hard it is to get workers, even though their CEO-worker pay ratio dramatically increased to 1,953-to-1 in FY 2020 from 489-to-1 in FY 2019, due to Hilton laying off workers while its CEO saw his total compensation increase by $34 million after the company “restructured several complex stock awards.”
- Nike’s CFO was quick to blame delays on “labor shortages,” despite the company’s CEO-worker pay ratio growing from 379-to-1 in FY 2018 to 913-to-1 in FY 2021, with the ratio peaking at 1,935-to-1 in FY 2020 due to the new CEO receiving $40 million more in compensation than the prior CEO–compensation which was even criticized by company shareholders.
- While Whirlpool’s CEO blamed the “labor shortage” for hampering his company’s ability to “dial up production” and has expressed worry about the shortage, the company’s CEO-worker pay ratio has increased from 356-to-1 in FY 2017 to 772-to-1 in FY 2020, propelled by a nearly $10 million increase to the CEO’s compensation over that same period.
- Five Below’s CEO complained that the “‘labor market is very tight right now’” and has even reduced store hours to mitigate the “‘challenges of getting labor in the stores,’” even though he saw his compensation increase by over $10.7 million during the pandemic resulting in a CEO pay ratio of 2,260-to-1 in FY 2020, compared to 718-to-1 in FY 2019.
- Even though Acuity Brands’ executives admitted to experiencing “‘labor shortages’” and blamed the “‘tight’” labor market on COVID-19, during the pandemic, the company’s CEO-worker pay ratio rose to 2,316-to-1 in FY 2020 from 981-to-1 in FY 2019 after the new CEO’s compensation increased 40% from the prior CEO while the median employee compensation decreased 40%.
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