A Wal-Mart worker making $9 an hour would have to work 2.8 million hours to match the CEO’s pay
The world’s largest retailer announced wage hikes for its U.S. employees Thursday, raising its minimum hourly wage to at least $9.
Wal-Mart (WMT) made the announcement as part of its latest quarterly earnings report and said the increase will cost the largest private employer in the country about $1 billion.
Just for fun, Fortune wondered how many hours it would take a Wal-Mart employee earning the increased minimum salary to earn the same amount of compensation as CEO Doug McMillon. The answer? It would take more than 2.8 million hours of earning $9 per hour to reach the roughly $25.6 million in compensation McMillon earned in 2014, his first year on the job. (That number would come down to roughly 2.6 million hours with next year’s additional hourly increase.)
For those wondering, there are only 8,760 hours in a calendar year and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management estimates the average number of actual work hours in a year to be 2,087. Using the latter figure, a Wal-Mart employee earning the new minimum hourly wage of $9 per hour would have to work more than 1,360 years in order to equal McMillon’s 2014 compensation.
The total compensation for Wal-Mart’s CEO last year included a base salary of about $950,000, plus more than $23 million in stock awards, along with additional incentives.
McMillon took over for former Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke a year ago amid a string of disappointing quarterly U.S. sales numbers for the retail giant. McMillon’s promotion earned him a hefty raise last year after he took home around $10 million a year earlier as head of the company’s international business. In the most recent quarter, Wal-Mart reported a better-than-expected U.S. sales bump as well as a 1.4% increase in total revenue.
The news comes at a time of intense debate over what constitutes fair pay for low-wage workers and it follows protests last fall by Wal-Mart employees seeking a base pay of $15 per hour for all company employees. The company’s planned wage hike, which will go into effect in April, doesn’t go quite that far, but it does outpace the federally mandated minimum wage by $1.75 per hour. Wal-Mart also said its minimum wage will go up again next year, to $10/hour.
Labor groups have long argued that Wal-Mart should pay its low-wage employees more and Fortune’s Stephen Gandel wrote two years ago that the retail giant could even afford to increase its workers’ pay by 50% without disappointing its shareholders and bondholders.