Oct. 11, 2004 – The gap between CEO and worker pay continues to grow dramatically, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and an annual survey by Business Week magazine. If average worker pay, now at $26,899, had risen at the same rate as CEO pay over the last 25 years, workers would now be earning more than $184,000 a year. If the minimum wage rose at the same rate, it would now be almost $45 an hour.
Some CEOs and analysts say high salaries are necessary to attract "top talent."
"There are very, very few people who can lead one of the major international companies, and you have to pay what the market demands," Charles Peck, a compensation specialist for the Conference Board, a global business research organization based in New York and Belgium, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Others argue the disparity is unethical, especially at a time when many workers are facing pay cuts, declining benefits and lay-offs. William J. McDonough, chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a private, nonprofit organization that oversees the auditors of public companies, believes Congress may soon take action to set limits on executive pay. In a February speech, McDonough called the wage gap â€œgrotesquely immoral.â€�