mobile equilar logo
phone icon

CEO Pay Trends

Featuring commentary from   


CEO Pay Trends, an Equilar publication, analyzes the compensation data of chief executive officers at Equilar 500 companies over the last five fiscal years. The Equilar 500 is an index comprised of the largest US-based companies, by revenue trading, on one of the major U.S. stock exchanges. The report analyzes trends surrounding the fluctuations in CEO salaries across industries and how companies award compensation. Additionally, the report features data on the top 10 highest-paid CEOs in 2018. Meridian Compensation Partners provided commentary on the state of CEO pay and the many internal and external factors affecting the compensation landscape.

About the Report

  • Equilar subscribers: Subscribers may log in to read the full report now or fill out the form for immediate download.
  • Non-subscribers may fill out the form to contact us for purchase information or to request more details about receiving all of our research reports complimentary as part of a subscription.

Key Findings:

  • Median total compensation among Equilar 500 CEOs reached $12.1 million in 2018, achieving an 8% increase from 2017.
  • Median reported total CEO compensation in 2018 rose in all sectors except consumer goods, which faced a 0.9% decrease.
  • The healthcare sector had the highest median pay for the fifth year in a row, at $16.3 million. Conversely, median CEO pay was the lowest in the utilities sector, at $9.7 million.
  • Stock compensation continues to be the largest component, increasing 10.2% in value from 2017. Stock accounted for more than half of total median pay, at 51.2%.
  • Since 2014, the percentage of Equilar 500 CEOs receiving performance-based awards has been steadily rising, exceeding both time-based stock and options grants as the most prevalent long-term incentive vehicle. In 2018, 87.8% of Equilar 500 CEOs received performance-based awards.