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March 09, 2022

Entry-level pay down 8% from a decade ago: report

It’s a bit unfortunate that anytime new data emerges on worker compensation, we feel the need to compare it to what top CEOs earn.

What we know, though, is that executive pay is among the only data set we can track over a period of time.

For instance, the total compensation paid the highest-ranking five executives of a public firm between 1993-1995, according to the Oxford Review of Economic Policy, amounted to five per cent of that company’s earnings. By 2001-2003, that total had nearly doubled, to 9.8 per cent of a firm’s company earnings.

Add that to what we know CEOs earn now, and what we have is a complicated way of saying the earnings of top executives have risen and risen, with few interruptions.

We cannot say that, however, about the rest of the workforce.

In what’s surely some of the most troubling data for young people, a new study shows that entry-level pay has not only failed to increase since the recession, but has reverted back to levels seen some 15 years earlier.

*Bing: What are the highest-paying jobs for young people?

According to the Economic Policy Institute, inflation-adjusted pay for university/college graduates has slumped by nearly eight per cent since 2000, and is almost as low as it was at its dearth over a 40-year period, in 1995.

In 2011, entry-level pay for a post-secondary graduate* scored in at $21.68 in the U.S., down from $23.47 in 2000. In 1995, when wages for fresh graduates were lower than they were even as far back as 1973, hourly pay was $19.51.

What entry-level workers earned last year was about the same, on an inflation-adjusted hourly basis, as they made in 1973.

So what we’ve got here, then, isn’t just a story of how the recession has slammed graduate earnings. The trend, regrettably, has been heading downward for more than a decade.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money

*Figures above represent male pay. Female pay is slightly lower, but reflects the same negative pattern as seen in male compensation.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...