Special Report

This Is the Lowest Paying American Company

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Companies in many sectors have faced growing criticism over the years for not paying livable wages — high enough salaries to keep workers above the poverty level. And the lowest-paying American company is automotive parts company Aptiv.

Solutions to the low wage some companies pay included increases to the minimum wage, which many states have enacted. Additionally, companies like Amazon.com and Walmart have bumped up their lowest hourly pay in an attempt to address the criticism. (This is the largest company in every state.)

Wages among the lowest-paid working Americans have been inadequate to support a standard of living above the official federal poverty line for some time. The pandemic has only exacerbated the situation. While millions of people have received financial aid from the government to support those out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation has pushed the cost of living across much of America higher. And these programs have largely ended.

The Securities and Exchange Commission adopted rules that force public companies to disclose the pay ratio — what they pay their CEOs compared to the median compensation of their workers. These rules were revised as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2015. For the most part, all employees must be included as part of the calculation.

The SEC regulation has set off a new series of debates about CEO pay. Chief executives sometimes have compensation at levels several hundred times the pay levels of their median workers. Board of directors often counter by saying that much of CEO pay comes from stock options, which only make CEOs money if stocks in their companies rise.

To find the lowest paying American company, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data provided by MyLogIQ, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide analysis of public company data, (subscription available). Only companies in the S&P 500 were considered.

The company with the lowest-paid employees worldwide based on this analysis is Aptiv, an auto technology corporation based in Ireland that files SEC documents in the U.S. The company’s proxy shows the median compensation of its employees at $5,906 in 2020, well below the U.S. poverty level. Aptiv reported it had 151,000 workers in 44 countries.

Aptiv’s CEO Kevin Clark made $31.3 million in the same year, which is 5,294 times the median employee compensation. (On the flip side, these are the best paying large companies in America.)

Data for the 20 lowest-paying companies in the S&P 500 was provided by MyLogIQ, which uses AI and machine learning to review SEC documents.

Click here to see the lowest paying American company

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20. Dollar Tree
> Median annual employee compensation: $15,816
> Annual CEO compensation: $11.3 million (Michael A. Witynski)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 715:1
> Company annual revenue: $25.5 billion

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19. Amphenol
> Median annual employee compensation: $15,009
> Annual CEO compensation: $8.0 million (R. Adam Norwitt)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 536:1
> Company annual revenue: $8.6 billion

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18. VF Corporation
> Median annual employee compensation: $13,513
> Annual CEO compensation: $15.8 million (Steven E. Rendle)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 1,168:1
> Company annual revenue: $9.2 billion

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17. TJX Companies
> Median annual employee compensation: $13,135
> Annual CEO compensation: $14.5 million (Ernie Herrman)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 1,108:1
> Company annual revenue: $32.1 billion

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16. Chipotle Mexican Grill
> Median annual employee compensation: $13,127
> Annual CEO compensation: $38.0 million (Brian R. Niccol)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 2,898:1
> Company annual revenue: $6.0 billion

15. Ulta Beauty
> Median annual employee compensation: $12,476
> Annual CEO compensation: $8.1 million (Mary N. Dillon)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 649:1
> Company annual revenue: $6.2 billion

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14. Starbucks
> Median annual employee compensation: $12,113
> Annual CEO compensation: $14.7 million (Kevin R. Johnson)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 1,211:1
> Company annual revenue: $29.1 billion

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13. Align Technology
> Median annual employee compensation: $11,961
> Annual CEO compensation: $15.5 million (Joseph M. Hogan)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 1,298:1
> Company annual revenue: $2.5 billion

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12. Avery Dennison
> Median annual employee compensation: $11,460
> Annual CEO compensation: $8.7 million (Mitchell R. Butier)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 760:1
> Company annual revenue: $7.0 billion

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11. Yum! Brands, Inc.
> Median annual employee compensation: $11,377
> Annual CEO compensation: $14.6 million (David W. Gibbs)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 1,286:1
> Company annual revenue: $5.7 billion

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10. The Coca-Cola Company
> Median annual employee compensation: $11,342
> Annual CEO compensation: $18.4 million (James Quincey)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 1,621:1
> Company annual revenue: $33.0 billion

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9. Western Digital
> Median annual employee compensation: $11,292
> Annual CEO compensation: $17.1 million (David V. Goeckeler)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 1,514:1
> Company annual revenue: $16.9 billion

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8. Bath & Body Works
> Median annual employee compensation: $9,876
> Annual CEO compensation: $18.5 million (Andrew Meslow)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 1,873:1
> Company annual revenue: $11.8 billion

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7. Seagate Technology Holdings plc
> Median annual employee compensation: $9,757
> Annual CEO compensation: $11.6 million (William D. Mosley)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 1,193:1
> Company annual revenue: $10.7 billion

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6. McDonald’s
> Median annual employee compensation: $9,124
> Annual CEO compensation: $10.8 million (Christopher J. Kempczinski)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 1,189:1
> Company annual revenue: $19.2 billion

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5. Ross Stores
> Median annual employee compensation: $8,672
> Annual CEO compensation: $17.5 million (Barbara Rentler)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 2,020:1
> Company annual revenue: $12.5 billion

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4. Royal Caribbean Group
> Median annual employee compensation: $8,664
> Annual CEO compensation: $12.1 million (Richard D. Fain)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 1,395:1
> Company annual revenue: $2.2 billion

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3. Gap Inc.
> Median annual employee compensation: $7,037
> Annual CEO compensation: $21.9 million (Sonia Syngal)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 3,113:1
> Company annual revenue: $13.8 billion

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2. Under Armour
> Median annual employee compensation: $6,669
> Annual CEO compensation: $7.4 million (Patrik Frisk)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 1,104:1
> Company annual revenue: $4.5 billion

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1. Aptiv
> Median annual employee compensation: $5,906
> Annual CEO compensation: $31.3 million (Kevin P. Clark)
> CEO-to-worker pay ratio: 5,294:1
> Company annual revenue: $13.1 billion

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