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  June 22nd, 2023 | Written by

Some Surprising Findings on Median Employee Pay in 2022 

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High inflation, layoffs in the tech sector, and a general sense of malaise – this about sums up the last 12 months. Yet, if you were employed at Warner Brothers, Dominos Pizza, Skyworks Solutions, or Schlumberger, median employee pay from 2021 to 2022 popped by between 67 and 108%. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, despite some troubling macroeconomic indicators, compensation for the median worker over nearly 300 companies in the S&P 500 index was greater in 2022 (compared to the previous year).

The leading company in the analysis was a real estate investment trust that managed casinos and hotels. Vici Properties saw the salary of their median worker rise by 1,373%. Granted, the firm did not include the tens of thousands of workers that are technically employed by casinos working at their properties, but the jump was certainly notable. 

Meta Platforms (home to Facebook) registered median worker pay at nearly $300,000. This was up from 2021, but barely (1%). Meanwhile, Alphabet (home to Google) saw median pay drop by 5%, landing at $279,802 for 2022. While a struggling tech sector contributed to white-collar layoffs, small and large employers have continued hiring leaving unemployment at notable lows. In terms of salary levels, approximately one-third of those companies the Journal looked at reported median salaries of at least $100,000. Energy firms gained big in 2022 and unsurprisingly were represented in five of the Top 20 firms with the highest paid median salaries. 

On the lower end were those companies paying $50,000 or less to their median workers. These numbered around 100 of which the vast majority were either retailers, cruise operators, or restaurant chains. Something all 100 firms shared in common was the large percentage of hourly or part-time workers. Firms with contract, fixed salaries have a hard time maintaining median remunerations at $50,000 or less. The market is too flexible with high levels of movement at these salary brackets. 

An interesting observation comes from the industry side of the list. A preliminary assumption would be the financial services sector heavily represented in terms of the amount of median pay. Yet, media and entertainment, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, life sciences, and energy nearly dominate the top 30 listed companies. The Journal included Equity Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) as their own category and not part of Financial Services. REITs had at least four companies included in the top 30.