Company wage tracker
Low wages are widespread in the service sector of the economy, which is also notorious for poor working conditions. At the same time, big box stores, restaurant groups, grocery stores, and other big firms in these industries generate a lot in revenue and often reward their CEOs with hefty compensation packages.
The Company Wage Tracker looks at 66 large retail and food service firms, showing how many workers they employ, how much revenue they generate in U.S. operations, what they pay their CEOs, and what shares of their U.S. hourly workers fall within certain wage bands (from earning less than $10 per hour to earning at least $20 per hour). The worker wage distribution comes from survey data collected from Facebook and Instagram users by The Shift Project in 2021.
There is a vast gap between how these firms reward their CEOs and how they compensate their front-line workers. And while the tracker does not show demographic information, in the retail and accommodation and food services sectors, 1 in 3 workers is Black or Hispanic and half are women, according to national data from the Current Population Survey.
To find out how these companies translate their revenues into pay for their CEOs and hourly workforce, click on a logo below or select a company name from the drop-down menu.
* CEO pay reported here does not reflect all forms of compensation; the data exclude, for example, stock awards until they are realized, which can be a substantial omission.
The Shift Project has surveyed hourly workers employed since the fall of 2016 at large retail and food establishments in the United States. The data on shares of workers falling below certain wage thresholds are based on a subsample of 20,933 hourly service-sector workers employed at the 66 firms with the largest number of survey respondents. The survey respondents were interviewed between March 2021 and November 2021. The surveys were completed in two waves: The spring wave in March, April, and May gathered data from 11,498 respondents, and the fall wave in September, October, and November gathered data from 9,435 respondents. The survey was national in scope and the survey sample includes respondents from all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. The Shift Project data identify the firm at which each respondent works and contain at least 100 respondents at each of the 66 firms highlighted here. The average number of respondents per firm is 317.
The Shift Project recruits survey respondents using online Facebook and Instagram advertisements targeted to workers employed at large retail and food service employers. Those who responded to The Shift Project survey invitation were automatically routed to a survey landing page where, after consenting to participate in the study, they answered online questions using the Qualtrics platform. As an incentive, those who completed the self-administered survey and provided contact information were entered into a drawing for a $500 Amazon gift card. The survey included modules on job characteristics, work schedules, demographics, economic stability, health, parenting, and child outcomes. Invalid survey responses were screened out using an attention filter (a question that instructed respondents to select a particular response category to verify the accuracy of their responses).
Total employee counts at each firm are estimates from the Reference Solutions business directory, using the 2019 counts of workers employed at each firm in the United States, excluding corporate offices. For some companies for which these data are unavailable, data were pulled from Compustat’s database of financial, statistical, and market information for 2019 or 2020. Compustat is also the source for 2019 and 2020 CEO pay, if available. CEO pay is the sum of salary and other compensation realized during the most recent year for which data are available, and includes salaries and benefits and realized or vested stock options. In some cases, compensation in forms not recorded here, particularly unrealized stock options, can be substantial. Amazon’s CEO pay is the SEC filing for 2021 total compensation. In the case of subsidiaries, due to data availability CEO pay is generally from the parent corporation; for example, the CEO pay listed above for Whole Foods is the same as Amazon’s value. Revenue estimates come from either 2019–2020 Compustat data or 2019–2021 data from Capital IQ, a database produced by Standard & Poor’s. Revenues are generally sales for U.S. operations but may sometimes include subsidiaries and also some international operations. The racial and gender composition of the national retail and accommodation and food services sectors cited above comes from an analysis of the EPI Extracts of the 2019 Basic Monthly Current Population Survey.
For more information on the Company Wage Tracker, the underlying survey data, and other reports written using The Shift Project’s survey data, see the report by The Shift Project. For separate research on the gap between CEO and typical worker pay, see EPI’s latest report here.
Note: Shares of workers falling in each wage band may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding.
Last updated April 2022. Download the data here.