Tech Firms' Salary Average Tops Traditional Media

Mark Zuckerberg F8 Facebook Developers - Getty - H 2018
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Facebook's median salary is $240,430, followed by Alphabet ($197,274), Netflix ($183,304) and CBS Corp. ($116,654).

Internet giants aren’t just ahead of Hollywood powerhouses in terms of stock market value, but also average employee pay, while Hollywood conglomerates pay their CEOs more. Those are among the take-aways from companies’ recent executive pay filings.

The Securities and Exchange Commission in 2015 adopted new rules requiring companies to disclose median employee pay information and a ratio of CEO-to-employee pay, which are due for the first full fiscal year beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2017.

The first such disclosures made in recent weeks aren’t easily comparable as companies have some leeway in deciding how to measure compensation and which components of it to include and exclude. They then have to find the “median” employee, or person at the midpoint of the pay range. But the disclosures do shed some light on how lopsided pay can be in the industry.

Time Warner and CBS Corp. are high up in the rankings in terms of the pay disparity ratio, with their CEOs Jeff Bewkes and Leslie Moonves last year making $49.0 million and $69.4 million, respectively. That meant ratios of 651:1 and 595:1.

That compared to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ $24.4 million in compensation (for a ratio of 133:1), Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s $8.9 million (37:1) and Google owner Alphabet CEO Larry Page’s $1. The nominal pay for Page means that Alphabet is the rare case of a company where the CEO-to-employee ratio is in the staff’s favor, by 1:197,274.

In terms of recent median employee pay disclosures, Facebook leads the charge of a list of companies analyzed by THR with $240,430, followed by Alphabet ($197,274), Netflix ($183,304) and CBS Corp. ($116,654). Liberty Media's median salary is $88,786, Discovery is at $80,858, AT&T follows with $78,437 and Time Warner sits at $75,217.

The median employee pay for sector companies is ahead of the average of $63,058 calculated as of April 27 based on data from 1,591 firms by Equilar, which tracks executive compensation. Its data shows a median ratio for the companies was 72:1.