Waste Industry Trends: Senior Executive Pay Rises, Median Wage Stagnates

Date: June 30, 2022

Source: News Room

In recent years, some of the catchiest headlines across national news outlets have been the often staggeringly large compensation packages of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. Oftentimes these are contrasted against company layoffs or the "median" employee wage at the same company. The data, compiled by the Economic Policy Institute, shows that currently among public companies in the US, the average pay ratio between CEO and median worker is 351:1, up from 61:1 in 1989. While these figures have spurred controversy around their methodology, implications, and impact, it is still important to keep track of them to get a broader understanding of trends within the economy.

When it comes to the biggest players within the waste management industry, these ratios are quite a bit smaller than the national average, but still on an upward trend. In 2019, the average CEO to median worker wage across the seven largest waste management companies was 95:1. In 2021, however, that figure rose to 110:1. This is in part due to the structure of most of the CEO compensation packages, which were boosted when the stock price of each company rose significantly during the 2021 nationwide economic resurgence. Additionally, it is interesting to note that one of the industry's largest players, Republic Services, saw its CEO to median worker wage ratio fall significantly from 198:1 under Don Slager to 125:1 when Jon Vander Ark took over in 2021.

Many companies across the country have recently begun facing backlash from both workers and consumers over these cartoonishly large differences in pay. However, there is still much debate over the reasoning behind large compensation packages for top executives. As the country grapples with inflation and economic downturn, many will certainly grapple with this subject in the weeks and months to come. It will be interesting to follow how the waste industry leaders respond to these questions.

Sign up to receive our free Weekly News Bulletin