The Madurai-born business executive’s pay package has overtaken many other Silicon Valley technology magnates, earning an annual salary of over $242 million. He also owns a massive share of the company.
The pay gap between CEOs and the average employee is a common topic of discussion in the tech industry, particularly after the company’s wave of layoffs. But it is important to remember that the CEO’s pay is just one of several factors contributing to this growing inequality.
Despite this, it is still possible to find ways to address the issue of income inequality in corporate leadership. The most obvious option would be to reduce executives’ compensation, but this can lead to job loss and increased worker protests.
Another option is to increase transparency regarding executive pay. This would give the public more insight into how much money leaders make and would help combat wage discrimination.
In January, Alphabet, parent company of Google, announced plans to cut 12,000 jobs worldwide. The Mountain View, California-based company said the move aimed to boost profitability and cut costs. However, it was met with widespread criticism from workers and labor advocates.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department said that it had notified Alphabet of a potential gender pay discrimination case. The agency also asked the company to provide more data about its pay practices and to submit a plan to resolve the issue.
While these actions are reasonable steps, they must go further to ensure all employees are treated equally. The Labor Department wants more concrete measures, such as paying women and black employees equal salaries based on their skills.
The Labor Department’s action comes after it launched a legal action against Alphabet, Palantir, and Oracle for discriminating against Asian job applicants and employees. It has also sued Alphabet for failing to pay women employees equal wages, a move that has drawn scrutiny from lawmakers and other stakeholders.
Pichai’s salary is just a tiny fraction of the total compensation at Alphabet in 2022, more than 800 times the median employee’s pay. That’s a steep jump from the ratio of 27 to 1 in 2020 when the Madurai-born business executive did not receive any stock awards.
He received a total compensation of $226 million in 2022, boosted by a triennial stock award of $218 million. According to a securities filing on Friday, that amount makes him one of the world’s highest-paid corporate leaders.
His compensation in 2022 is significantly higher than other high-level executives at Alphabet, including Philipp Schindler, the chief business officer; Prabhakar Raghavan, the senior vice president for Google’s Knowledge and Information unit; and Ruth Porat, the executive vice president for finance and strategy.
This is a stark reminder to address issues like income inequality in corporate leadership. In addition, this latest disclosure will serve as a wake-up call for Alphabet and other companies facing increasing pressure from activists and the public overpayment policies.