Executive Snapshot: Huge gaps in pay in the C-suite

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New data reveals big differences between similar C-suite jobs. Pulling reward information from a pool of 20 million employees, a database from Korn Ferry called Executive Snapshot reveals salaries for the 25th percentile, median and 75th percentile for a single job among executives in the same company size and industry, along with a breakdown in bonuses and other compensation. 

The most revealing news: the gap among peers, writes Patricia Crisafulli from the Korn Ferry Institute. For example: a CFO at a large industrial business unit, pay at the 25th percentile is almost 750,000 dollars less than pay at the 75th.  When the chief marketing officer occupies a traditional marketing role, the compensation gap tends to be narrower: for a mid-sized consumer durables company, total direct compensation at the 25th percentile (319,000 dollar) is about two-thirds of the pay at the 75th percentile (484,000 dollar). But in other companies and industries, the job can carry greater commercial responsibilities and higher expectations for driving revenues.

Some of the differences can be explained by the complexity of job, as well as the number of direct reports. But many other factors affect C-level pay. For starters, employers often have a compensation framework that acts as a baseline. Long-tenured executives who come up the ranks into a C-suite position tend to be paid less than those who have moved from company to company.

In the end, the obvious question is whether executives can leverage all this information to boost their pay. “The easiest way to grow your salary is to grow your company,” says Bob Wesselkamper, global head of Rewards and Benefits Solutions, Korn Ferry. This approach may improve not only the extrinsic rewards, but also the intrinsic ones—the satisfaction of helping the company to thrive.

Read more on Kornferry 


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