Monday, September 19, 2011
It’s time to prick the popular image of ballooning executive pay with some sharp new facts.
As a group, corporate officers — executives with broad authority to act on the company’s behalf, not just follow orders from the CEO or some other boss — are making less, not more, my analysis of newly available tax data shows. ... [A]mong the nearly one million corporate officers in the United States, this new data, never available before, show that the overall story is one of shrinking pay. ...
Corporate officers earned less total pay in 2008 than they did a decade earlier in 1998, even though there were more company officers at firms with more than $500,000 of revenue, the threshold for reporting by name to the IRS. In all but two years since 1998, total pay was higher than in 2008.
Average pay looks to be significantly smaller than way back in 1994.
Measured in 2008 dollars, the 990,077 corporate officers whose compensation was reported on tax returns made $466.8 billion in 2008, down slightly from $471.4 billion in 1998.
In 2008 their average compensation was $471,500, down about 13.5% from an estimated $545,100 in 1994.
These figures, which I distilled from traditional IRS statistical reports plus a valuable new IRS data set, run counter to the image of the bloated corporate pay packages that have been a staple of spring news reports for two decades. ... The new data come from a document entitled 2008 Estimated Data Line Counts / Corporate Tax Returns.