There is always a huge shock among employees and the public when they hear how much money CEOs make. According to a recent article on washingtonpost.com, elite CEOs made an average of about $19 million a year. That’s a lot. Especially, when the average U.S. worker wage is about $54 thousand a year. So, do people have a right to be upset?
That article got me thinking. Is a CEO some type of intellectual athlete? Think about it. When someone gets drafted first round into the NFL, they are likely to make millions of dollars. The same rings true for the NBA. They pay these athletes millions because they create more millions collectively for the sports organizations than their contracts cost. In other words, the pro athletes have a talent that is worth millions. They attract TV viewers, ticket sales and merchandise. That is called business. Business based off athletic talent.
What about CEOs? Do they possess a skill set sort of like an intellectual athlete? They may not be able to dunk a ball, but they can sure market one. They can set up a company or build and scale an existing one. They can oversee international accounting, manufacturing, finance, operations, human resources, a corporate legal team, and on and on. Some can turn around multi-billion dollar failing companies or floundering organizations. Some can inspire a generation like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, or even Tyler Perry. Take any one of them out of the equation, and investors start sweating. Are these people intellectual athletes? And should they be paid as such?
The New England Patriot’s star quarterback, Tom Brady makes about $20 million per year. What about these elite CEOs? They are pulling in about $19 million a year on average. The question is, can your uncle Joe play football like Tom Brady? Can that same uncle Joe lead a fortune 500 company with all of the responsibilities that come with it? Can uncle Joe sing like Beyoncé or Ariana Grande? Does he look like a Kardashian? Can he rap like Jay Z? I know I can’t, can you? But wait, maybe uncle Joe can build an import/export business? I guess that would make him a CEO after all.
Let’s face it. Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are rich for a reason. They are like athletes of a sort; Michael Jordan literally. They create a lot of jobs for a lot of people. They also create new industries that create even more opportunity and jobs. I guess that’s the trade-off.
Think about it. Even if you went to school and got an MBA (Masters of Business Administration), you may be able to work in business, and even start one. But the fact is, not everyone has that super gift for business at the extreme levels some of these intellectual athletes or elite CEOs are operating at. College can’t manufacture that kind of gift. And yes, that skill set comes with a heavy price tag. That price tag is an average of $19 million a year!
You may argue, “That’s not fair!” But, you have to ask yourself, if it were you, would you turn away the money? Oh, of course you would! Have any New England Patriots fans complained about Tom Brady’s salary? Should a surgeon make as much as a security guard? Should a stock clerk make as much as the general manager?
The beauty of this country, the United States, is that you can take the talent you have and make millions, billions, or a very strong living for yourself no matter who you are. Business and pro-level athletic ability are not the only gifts. I encourage you to read my past Allwomenstalk.com article, “Don’t Underestimate How Gifted You Are,” to inspire you to use whatever gift you have to become rich or simply make money doing what you love.
As far as the CEO pay, I think they get those big bucks because they have a certain gift and know its value. Value isn’t just business acumen alone. It can also be what you bring to the table. Look at Kylie Jenner who ended up on the cover of Forbes Magazine after amassing a $900 million-dollar fortune in less than three years. She was just 20 years old! Say what you want, but she leveraged her value.
So, whether you are an accountant, bartender, hairstylist, or even a CEO, you have to know your value and respectfully ask for it. Depending on what it is, you may be able to demand it.