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When 1,000 workers equal just one CEO

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An extensive study of top executives’ pay has uncovered the widening gap between CEO pay and average salaries.

The difference between what CEOs get paid as compared to the lowest employees in their company has increased by 1,000% since 195o, according to new research by Bloomberg.

Three years ago, US Congress ordered public companies to reveal actual CEO-to-worker pay ratios, yet the numbers still remain largely unknown.

Bloomberg said they gathered the following information themselves based on the government’s industry-specific averages for pay and benefits of rank-and-file workers.

The worst offender is JC Penney, whose recently-fired CEO Ron Johnson walked out the door with a $53.3 million (S$65.8m) compensation deal.

This figure is almost 1,800 times the $29,688 (S$36,674) annual salary earned by the department store’s cashiers.

Abercrombie and Fitch CEO Michael Jeffries took home $48.1m (S$59.4m) in 2012, when an average worker earned around $29,310 (S$36,207) per year, plus benefits.

Financial and technology companies Simon Property Group and Oracle Group have baseline salaries much higher than retail counterparts, with average employees making around $86,033 (S$106,278) and $74,693 (S$92,270) annually, respectively.

However, their CEOs – David Simon and Larry Ellison – earned plenty more. Simon made around $137.2m (S$169.4m) last year, followed by Ellison on $96.2m (S$118.8m)

Starbucks came in fifth place, with the average barista earning $25,463 (S$31,454) and CEO Howard Schultz making $28.9m (S$35.6m)

A Starbucks spokesman said Howard’s salary reflects “both competitive considerations and the unique values of his leadership” and reiterated their employees receive a “comprehensive benefits package”.

The other companies mentioned did not respond to Bloomberg requests for comment, or declined to comment.

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