Americans need 16 weeks to earn what Elon Musk does in five minutes

Americans need 16 weeks to earn what Elon Musk does in five minutes

Highest paid CEOs: Americans need 16 weeks to earn what Elon Musk does in five minutes

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Comparing The Earnings Of The Highest Paid CEOs With The Average American

The biggest CEOs worldwide earn astronomical sums of money each year. People often question if these titans of industry merit the salary they receive - some feel it is deserved given the huge responsibility on their shoulders whilst others simply consider them ‘greedy fat cats’.

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highest paid ceos

Interested in CEOs earnings, identified the 10 highest paid CEOs in the world and then utilised their salary to hourly calculator to work out how long it would take Americans to make what each CEO does in five minutes. found that Americans need to work an astonishing 16 weeks, 1 day and 4 hours to make what Elon Musk does in five minutes ($15,263). To put that into context, the Tesla maverick in five minutes can buy 90 return flight tickets for New York to San Francisco.

In second place is Tim Cook, as it would take Americans 3 weeks, 3 days and 3 hours to earn the same amount the Apple CEO does in five minutes ($3,429). In the space of five minutes, Cook can buy three iPhone 12’s without breaking a sweat.

Tom Rutledge And Sundar Pichai Earnings

Tom Rutledge is in third position. To bank the $3,000 the telecoms tycoon makes every five minutes, American workers would need to labour for 3 weeks and 1 day.

Interestingly, Americans would have to spend 2 weeks, 1 day and 6 hours to accumulate the same five-minute income as Sundar Pichai ($2,209), the head of Google subsidiary Alphabet Inc.

Just below Sundar Pichai in ninth place is Satya Nadella. Americans would have to work for 2 weeks and 5 hours to gain the $1,982 the Microsoft chief makes per five working minutes.

Out of the highest paid CEOs, it would take Americans the least amount of time (1 week, 4 days and 5 hours) to make the $1,801 Douglas Ingram enjoys for every five minutes he spends working.

Additionally, surveyed 1,822 Americans to understand their attitudes towards major CEOs.

The study found found that:

  • 84% of Americans feel that it is ‘unjustified’ for major CEOs to be paid millions each year, whilst 16% think it is ‘justified’
  • 73% of Americans don’t understand what major CEOs do on a day-to-day basis to merit being paid millions each year
  • 65% of Americans would like major CEOs to be more transparent about what they do on a day-to-day basis and the positive actions they are taking to grow/improve the respective organisations they lead
  • Overwhelmingly, 88% of Americans feel the current income disparity between CEOs and average workers is ‘too wide’ and needs to drastically ‘shrink’ in the next five years

Notes to editors: identified the ten highest paid CEOs in the world by using Bloomberg’s latest CEO pay index.

All calculations based on CEOs working an average of 62.5 hours per week (statistic found from Harvard Business Review study) and average workers working an average of 40 hours per week.

For America, calculations based on gross average annual full-time salary of $48,672.

The timescales shown in this research in terms of weeks, day and hours only account for working weeks, days and hours – it does not include weekends or any overtime hours. All figures in this research are estimates.


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Jacob Wolinsky is the founder of, a popular value investing and hedge fund focused investment website. Jacob worked as an equity analyst first at a micro-cap focused private equity firm, followed by a stint at a smid cap focused research shop. Jacob lives with his wife and four kids in Passaic NJ. - Email: jacob(at) - Twitter username: JacobWolinsky - Full Disclosure: I do not purchase any equities anymore to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest and because at times I may receive grey areas of insider information. I have a few existing holdings from years ago, but I have sold off most of the equities and now only purchase mutual funds and some ETFs. I also own a few grams of Gold and Silver
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