McDonald's and Starbucks CEOs Make More than $9,200 Per Hour

Report looks at 10 companies where CEO pay gap is widest

Fast Food Strikes
APDemonstrators outside a McDonald's during Dec. 5 strikes.
By Hayley Peterson

The chief executives of McDonald's and Starbucks earn more than $9,200 an hour, which is at least 1,000 times the hourly wages of their sales associates, according to a new report by the personal finance website NerdWallet.

The report highlights fast food and retail companies with some of the biggest gaps between CEO pay and hourly wages paid to associates.

McDonald's, Starbucks and Dollar General top the list, followed by Gap, TJ Maxx, Target, Wal-Mart, CVS Caremark, Best Buy and AT&T Wireless.

Out of those 10 companies, median CEO pay on an hourly basis was calculated as $7,334, compared to $8.73 for sales associates. NerdWallet reviewed 100 companies for the report and selected the 10 that had the highest annual CEO pay to compare the disparities.

CEO pay was calculated by dividing each chief executive's total compensation (as reported in the company's annual proxy statement) by 60 hours a week times 50 weeks per year. Sales associates' wage information was obtained from

The NerdWallet study comes as employees of fast food and retail chains have been staging a series of demonstrations and strikes demanding better pay.

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So what does the top dog at AOL get paid, and what is the minimum pay at AOL?

June 03 2014 at 9:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The only company on that list I do business with is AT&T and it's nice to see that they, at least, pay their employees more than the proposed minimum wage that President Obama has put forward. Given the OUTRAGEOUS pay of the CEO's of the other companies mentioned, in comparison with the terrible "minimum wage" they force upon their employees, I'll be spending more time at COSTCO and UNION stores to show my support for their pay and benefit standards. I also have to mention that I won't shop at "Hobby Lobby" since they are goinf to court to block their having to pay for women's health benefits they disagree with (because of their "Christian" beliefs), yet over 90% of their stocked items are made in China where millions of forced abortions are completed every year. I'm beginning to track companies who try to say one thing and then do another which is SOOOO much worse. All I can add here is, "we're watching all of you businesses and you need to prove yourselves to be good citizens if you want MY money." There are choices, and I'm making mine known.

February 20 2014 at 10:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mark's comment

I agree 100%

February 20 2014 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The system is broken, corrupt, self serving, and it bothers me that is why i am posting/venting here. America is a corporate owned police state that serves the few at the expense of 99%. The dollar itself has no intrinsic value and the corrupt government destroys its value constantly and simultaneously taxes you more to keep it all going (keep you running harder and faster for less and less) and avoid having to make any politically/system changing decisions. No other organization could survive indefinitely by ignoring costs or literally counterfeiting money to cover costs. The government is like the mafia. Chained CPI is a joke. The costs that matter most to day to day survival don't count towards inflation figures???

The "Fed" is not part of the government. Greed power and control are behind all of this. You are not free. Just try not paying taxes eventually men with guns employed by some redundant department of the system will show up and take you to prison. You do not own your land it is leased to you by a government backed by men with guns.. As long as most are deceived deluded etc it keeps going. Eventually government controlled printing presses will cause hyperinflation and the dollar will be no more. This fiat currency will fail like all others that have preceded it, and everything will be wiped clean and that will be the best chance for a new society that benefits all not the well connected in few...

December 11 2013 at 8:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The root of the problem is the ceos for publicly traded companies are working for shareholders not the community. shareholder value is directly at odds with community needs and always will be. You would not see this kind of disparity in a community owned organization. That kind of waste/abuse/disparity would not be tolerated by the members of the community owned/operated org. I get all that. There is another thing going on here.

To the tiger woods comments. Tiger is the one hitting the hole in 1's. Not someone 300 levels above him in the PGA org chart. The PGA ceo cannot take credit for tigers skills nor should she/he. The pga ceo shouldn't make 1000x tigers salary because he simply employs tiger. Did the PGA ceo invent golf? train tiger? no and no. Tiger has been practicing that highly specialized skill since he was still loading up his diapers. These ceos were not doing any such thing. No not every fast food employee is a tiger woods, 99.9% of humanity is not, including the vast majority of ceos. Nor do these ceos do the equivalent of throwing for 500yds 5 TDs, score triple doubles, throw no hitters, shoot 18 under par on a regular basis.

One could argue that lets say 500 employees that represent half of the ceos pay have measurably more output/contribution to the company than the ceo does on a daily basis. Think about that 500 human beings working 8 hours (4000 hours for the company) vs the 1 ceo working for that same 8 hours. 8 hours "worked" for the company by the ceo...

I have personally spent time with several ceos of multi-million dollar companies and they are flawed just like everyone else. Maybe they are more articulate than most, good at public speaking, confident, etc. I have listened to speeches by ceos and you feel like you are listening to a politician. Sociopath describes most I have known. Case in point in a brand new company lexus in a customers driveway a ceo for a company I worked for floored the accelerator and hit killed a seagull with the car just for fun. They cheat on there wives, abuse substances and bend and break the rules to suit their wants and desires directly at company expense while the employees continue to get squeezed to make it all possible. And before you judge me and tell me to go to school etc. I have bettered myself I make 6 figures per year and graduated from college with honors. I have no debt and several well funded retirement plans.

Raising the minimum wage will not crush companies or the fake economy or cause inflation in the same way that the ceo pay and board pay doesn't currently. The push back you hear through the corporate controlled and biased media represent shareholders crying because their dividend checks may go down slightly.

December 11 2013 at 8:13 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

60 hours a week and 50 weeks is unbelievably generous. Do all of these CEOs put in 50 weeks and only take off two weeks a year???? With all of their assistants, secretaries, drivers, etc what is left for them to actually do that is worth 10K an hour?? Yes cut expenses, yes raise prices, yes have less employees do more for the same money or less money than they are already doing it for. maximize profit at the expense of everything else, outsource and make everything cheaper faster.... Out of the 10 companies is there really anything ground breaking or innovative that these ceos are responsible for creating?? Are they the company founder ?? no and no most likely. These companies could save millions a year ditching ceos and returning some of the savings to shareholders as dividends and keeping more people employed with higher wages..

December 11 2013 at 7:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Mike Hom

Some people make good choices early in life. Others make not so good choices. Its really about the consequences of our actions especially when we are young and in school. At what point do we stop blaming others for our actions or lack of action? Should we stop allowing those who work hard to succeed? Why don't we just give every student an A. Forget about hard work, studying and effort. Everyone can just sit back and do nothing and then...get an A. The fact is some folks work hard all their lives, make good choices and deny themselves early in life. All to get ahead later in life. Now it seems those who made poor choices want everyone to pay for their mistakes.

December 10 2013 at 11:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Mike Hom's comment

oops, wrong answer, listen to yourself, everything being discussed will also affect you and your family in the future..and not in a good way. I busted my hump moving up in the company I was with for 14 years, we did what no other manager could do, we exceeded quota every month for 4 years in a row. I got payed back with the elimination of my position, it's called "downsizing"

February 20 2014 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I understand what you say. But what this article points out is that with out workers the companies that employ these CEOs would not make such large profits and be able to pay these CEOs $9000 per hour. In that respect what you say has little meaning. Yes many CEOs have worked hard ,studied and made the right choices. One factor you don't take into account is the advantages given to many CEOs because their families were or are rich and prominent. This allows young family members access to better schools because they have no financial restraints. Money gives access to tutors and personal educators that poor and working class Americans don't have. No one in their right mind would belittle these CEOs for getting an education and moving up the corporate ladder. But you do realize that because of their large salaries we all pay more for products. This is specially upsetting when it comes to meds. The other problem is these CEOs make some of the highest salaries in the world, but yet their tax RATE is lower then many middle income American workers. If they are going to make the highest salaries then they should pay the highest tax rate. The only way this will change is when they dive the middle class into extinction. Then their won't be enough customers that are able to buy their products. If congress would use tariffs to protect our American way of life their products would cost more and their profits lower. As long as the rich control Washington the American worker will be sacrificed in the name of CEO compensation. Why congress has never used tariffs that are allowed by the constitution to protect our jobs is a testament to corporate creed and corporate control of Washington DC.

May 27 2014 at 7:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hi Susan

People at the lower levels or do not have the will to even look for a job, say man - its always the man doing this to me (its why I live in the projects, its why I am unemployed; its why,...)

Well, the man is not doing anything to you.

These jobs are extremely difficult, overwhelming, and challenging jobs These people should be honored not villified by an idiotic Obama. They do good work (for the most part) and deliver products people want.

Some day those who refuse to work themselves will wake up and realize this has nothing to do with their sorry fate.

Yes, if you like to fill drink glasses at fast food restaurats all your life you will be paid accordingly.
If you want to deal with multiational complex issues where the stock holders and the boarc can kick you out, you should be paid like a Rock Star period.

Stop the idiotic commetns from the left
If Sseators Diane Feinstein a left wing senator, has 70 million dollars you should feel ripped off
as she had a public job almost all her life

But if you have a job where you get employed and paid well
then you too could have gotten that position if you worked hard and was well connected.

December 10 2013 at 8:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Hi Susan's comment

ah you said the magic words "WELL CONNECTED" I know I've been there

February 20 2014 at 11:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Susen how old are you? You must be too young to remember the world leading manufacturing base America had in the past. One of the reasons corporate profits are so high, thus allowing these high salaries is because of cheap labor overseas. Many corporations moved manufacturing overseas to China paying about $1.30 per hour. Now with MILLIONS of good blue collar jobs gone the choices for average Americans is very limited. Not all people have the intelligence level to get the type of education need to be a CEO. These American are the ones that drove our steel industry and manufacturing base. With the wholesale exodus in the 2000's due to favorable tax policies investment bankers invested in China not the US. Then once the manufacturing base was in place companies started have products made in China. The Chinese didn't build all those factories on their own. It took American investment dollars. America has become a service based economy. How long can that last? Median income for working Americans has been declining steadily for 15 years. The last time we had an increase in median income was 1999. Susan you need to look deeper into why we have the largest income disparity in American history. It is higher then in the late 1800's commonly called the "Robber Baron" period. Some day it will come to an end, just as the American way of life will end. America is on the fast track to a second rate economy. I just hope I don't live to see it. I feel sorry for my 3 day old grandson. His life is shaping up to be a poor and tiring futile effort to get ahead.

May 27 2014 at 7:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hi Susan

Some day people will not covet their neighbors pay check
but do something for themselves if they are unhappy with their lives.

December 10 2013 at 8:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good for them! Good that we live in country where such opportunity exists!

December 10 2013 at 7:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Lenny's comment

What about the constant shrinking of opportunity for average Americans? How about opportunities for blue collar workers? How many CEO jobs are out there? What about the other couple billion that want a good paying job. Look at the millions of graduating college students this year. There will be at least 3 of them applying for ever job opening. Those Americans will have loan debt and little opportunities for a good paying job. That is the main point of this article. The disparity between pay and opportunity.

May 27 2014 at 7:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Then you should have been a CEO.

December 10 2013 at 7:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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