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Total Compensation on the Rise for Most Executives

The 2014 AESC BlueSteps Executive Compensation Report, released today by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), reveals that almost half (44%) of executives at the CEO/President level experienced a rise in total compensation in the last fiscal year.

Of those CEOs who experienced an increase in total compensation, 37% received +11% or higher growth in the last fiscal year. The greatest percentage of respondents at this level (45.6%) earned annual base salaries in the $251-400K bracket.

The significant spread between those who received the greatest increase in total compensation and those who remained flat or decreased is likely an indicator that “pay for performance” is working in terms of both cash compensation and long-term incentives.

The last year was also positive for executives at the director and EVP/SVP/VP levels, as two-thirds of both groups received an increase in total compensation (66% and 65% respectively).

The AESC and BlueSteps conducted the survey from October 2014 to November 2014 and gathered 907 responses from senior-level executives in manufacturing/industrial, technology/telecoms, healthcare/life sciences, consumer/retail and other sectors worldwide. Additional findings of the report include:

  • A significant amount (45.6%) of CEOs made base salaries of $251-400K, while the rest of the C-suite (64.7%) earned $151-300K--$100K less than the CEOs.
  • The gender pay gap begins to develop at the $250K base salary level and above, due to fewer women being represented in C-suite positions.
  • Long-term incentives were an important motivating factor to most executives, with 60.5% stating that they believe long-term incentives have motivated them to stay at their current company longer, until these incentives mature.

Karen Greenbaum, AESC President & CEO, says: “This survey shows that total compensation is on the rise for most executives. It is interesting to note that executive search revenues grew by 8.6% year-on-year during quarter three indicating increased demand for top level talent, according to the AESC’s latest ‘State of the Industry’ statistics. There is no doubt that, as businesses are now in growth mode, top talent is highly valued and sought after. For many organizations, executive search is the solution to their talent concerns and the profession is responding.”

“This report also suggests that the gender pay gap isn’t noticeable until the $250K+ level, where fewer women are represented in the data. Organizations risk losing top talent to their competition if they don’t clearly demonstrate that they value diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organization. The AESC is proud to be partnering with the 30% Club to work towards greater diversity on the board and across the C-suite.”  

The report also includes information regarding cash bonuses, employment contracts, incentives and perquisites.

 Download the Report

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About the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants

Since 1959, the AESC has set the standard for quality and ethics in executive search and leadership consulting worldwide. Because AESC members must commit and adhere to the AESC's industry and government recognized Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines, clients can be assured that AESC members are able to serve as trusted advisors for their most important engagements. As the voice for executive search and leadership consulting worldwide, today the AESC is comprised of more than 350 member firms, representing 8,000 executive search professionals in 75 countries. To learn more about the AESC and its membership, visit www.aesc.org.

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