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.
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.