CEO vs. worker pay: Walmart, McDonald’s, and eight other firms with biggest gaps

These 10 companies have some of the highest-paid CEOs in the US and huge gulfs between CEO and average worker compensation, according to a study from NerdWallet. Can you guess which company has the biggest pay gap? 

1. McDonald's

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/File
Protesters stand outside a McDonald's restaurant in Los Angeles.

CEO: Donald Thompson

Average hourly worker wage: $7.73

CEO hourly compensation: $9,247 (1,196 times the average worker wage)

Overtime to CEO pay: 3.86 months

The world’s largest hamburger chain has the dubious distinction of having the biggest wage gap between its CEO and its workers. Like Walmart, the chain has become a focal point of the efforts of fair-wage advocates. In October, a labor group released a recording of a McDonald’s worker help-line operator instructing an employee on how to apply for food stamps. Over the summer, a 2010 budget sheet released by McDonald’s for its employees drew public outrage for its impracticality: among other things, the budget included income for a second job (implying workers needed one) and failed to factor in costs like groceries, gas, and childcare.

A series of fast-food worker strikes have been held across the country since this past summer. 

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