Walmart CEO Earns 1,188x More Than Company’s Average Employee

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Just how much does Walmart CEO, Doug McMillon, make compared to the company's typical worker?

That's the question on a lot of minds after a new report shows exactly how much the Walmart CEO brought home during the past fiscal year. The retail giant released financial reports indicating McMillon made about $22.8 million last year. That total represents about 1,188 times more than the just over $19,000 the typical Walmart employee earns annually.

It might go without saying that a chief executive of a major corporation would make significantly more than an average worker. Without a doubt, the Walmart CEO is no exception. But revelations about his salary are raising new questions about whether his compensation is justified. Regardless of the answer to this, it goes without saying that this position has made McMillon an extremely wealthy person.

Is the Walmart CEO an exception to the rule?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, McMillon is hardly alone in receiving criticism for what some see as an exorbitant compensation package. Just within the retail sector, several competitors have reported similarly disproportionate executive earning.

The CEO of Gap, for instance, makes a whopping 2,300 times more than the chain's median salary last year. Still, critics say the fact that other executives do it is no excuse to let the Walmart CEO off the hook.

Where does the Walmart CEO get his money?

Wal-Mart, CEO

Credit: Deviant Art, Jumper-of-Clouds

You might not realize that just a small percentage of McMillon's annual compensation comes from his salary. Though certainly not paltry, he only makes about $1.3 million of his annual fortune through a corporate paycheck. By comparison, the starting salary at Walmart is $11 per hour. The rest of what McMillon brought home last year, reports show, came from stock options and related benefits.

Walmart defends itself

Sure, $11 per hour seems downright insignificant when compared to nearly $23 million in annual compensation. But Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove offered a different take. He said the company has done a lot to raise the standard of living for its employees -- and he says that work is continuing.

For starters, a bump earlier this year meant that everyone starting at Walmart would make at least $11 in hourly wages. That constituted a much needed raise for a lot of workers. Additionally, it provided a larger paycheck than new hires might have otherwise expected.

Hargrove cites the company's investment in educational programs and other benefits as additional efforts to help employees succeed. He asserted, 

"It's about moving people beyond entry-level jobs by giving associates clearer career paths, skills-based training, and more control of their schedule."

Depending on your perspective, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon might be earning too much.

In a capitalist society, that's always the risk. But the Walmart CEO is certainly not an anomaly among executives, who often post huge earnings even when business is down. The fact of the matter is that Walmart has provided an opportunity for countless employees to advance their careers and provide for their families.

We can credit new safeguards passed into law after the 2008 financial crisis with mandating the release of this compensation information. Now you'll be informed whether you think the Walmart CEO -- or any other executive -- is overpaid, underpaid, or right on target.

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