每日英語跟讀 Ep.958: As the Pandemic Forced Layoffs, CEOs Gave Up Little
When the pandemic prompted companies to furlough or lay off thousands of employees, some chief executives decided to show solidarity by forgoing some of their pay.
But it turns out that their sacrifice was minimal.
A survey of some 3,000 public companies shows that the cuts — which, so far, have come in the form of salary reductions — were tiny compared with their total pay last year. Total pay includes things like bonuses and stock awards that typically make up the bulk of what corporate bosses take home.
Only a small percentage of the companies cut salaries for their senior executives at all, which is surprising given that the pandemic has crushed profits and sales for many companies, forcing large layoffs. But even among businesses that did cut the boss’s pay, two-thirds of the chief executives took reductions that were equivalent to only 10% or less of their 2019 compensation, according to an analysis by CGLytics, a compensation analysis firm.
Companies in this group include The Walt Disney Co., Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Marriott International. All of those businesses have laid off or furloughed employees or pressed workers to take pay cuts.
This compensation analysis offers another example of how the coronavirus pandemic has walloped the working and middle classes while mostly sparing the people at the very top of the economic hierarchy.
“These salary cuts were more window dressing than anything else,” said Liz Shuler, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO.
The labor federation released a report showing that companies in the S&P 500 stock index last year paid chief executives on average 264 times as much as median employees, down from 287 times in 2018.
Of course, this analysis is incomplete because the year is not over. In the coming months, corporate boards could decide to significantly reduce the bonuses and stock options they hand out to top executives for 2020. That would represent a big break from recent years when boards, which are primarily made up of corporate executives and investors, approved ever higher pay packages.
A few chief executives have already taken a sizable hit. The survey showed that Glenn Kelman, chief executive of Redfin, a Seattle-based real estate brokerage, took a pay cut that was equivalent to the $284,000 he got in 2019.
“The reason we did it is because we had to furlough or lay off more than a thousand people,” Kelman said when asked what motivated the decision to withhold his salary. “It’s not just about the pay cut; it’s about the general sense that capitalism is not working for everyone.”
CGLytics surveyed the companies in the Russell 3000 index, which comprises most of the publicly traded businesses in the United States, and found that 419 companies had disclosed details of salary cuts.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/356435/web/