Compensation rates for corporate directors at the largest U.S. public companies have jumped nearly 20% in the past five years. That’s nearly twice the salary increase of the average American.
A study from Equilar, a firm that tracks executive compensation, shows that the average base pay for directors at 500 companies jumped from $205,500 in 2012 to $245,000 in 2016—a 19.5% increase. Pay for the average American in that timeframe went from $42,211 to $46,119, an 11.9% jump according to the Social Security Administration.
While the Equilar study didn’t focus on CEO pay raises, it certainly indicates corporate leaders are seeing even bigger jumps.
“The median annual retainer for board members at large-cap companies is only about 2% of median pay for CEOs at these companies,” said Dan Marcec, director of content at Equilar and editor-in-chief of the report.
Equity pay to directors jumped by $25,000 to $150,000 in the five-year period, while cash awards (provided at 98% of companies) jumped from a median of $75,000 to $90,000.
To find how long it has taken the average American to get close to a 20% pay raise, you’d have to start tracking in 2008. But even in the nine years since then, average wages are up only 19%.