Seventy-one percent of chief financial officers received a pay increase in 2016, according to the results of an annual survey from Compensation Advisory Partners. CAP found a median increase in CFO pay of 3% and a median increase in actual total direct compensation (i.e., cash plus equity) for CFOs of 3.9%. The study looked at pay levels for CFOs and CEOs at 118 U.S. companies with median revenues of $12 billion.
For chief executive officers, fewer than 50% of companies granted increases in pay, resulting in a median increase of 0%, CAP found. Among the companies that increased CEO salaries, the median CEO and CFO 2016 increases were 3.3% and 4.4%, respectively.
Median actual bonus increases were modest, at 1.5% for CEOs and 1.1% for CFOs, which CAP said was “reflective of modest performance improvement (revenue and net income growth) in 2016.”
Total compensation for CFOs continued to be about one-third of total CEO pay.
“In the past, we have seen a steady growth in the number of CEOs and CFOs receiving salary increases in each year,” the study’s authors wrote. However, for the 2015-2016 period the prevalence of salary increases (49% for CEOs, 71% for CFOs) was lower than more recent years. The authors said the results resembled the 2012-2013 period, when only 48% of CEOs and 69% of CFOs, respectively, received pay hikes.
CAP found that the median salary changes were generally aligned between CEOs and CFOs in five of the nine industries it considered. However, in the Industrials sector, there was a median CEO increase of 0% compared with a CFO median increase of 4.9%.
The authors said they expected the overall pay mix to continue to favor variable components like long-term-incentive pay and bonuses over fixed base pay.
“Given increased shareholder scrutiny and influence of say on pay, we anticipate that aligning pay outcomes with company performance is the imperative for all companies and boards” the study concluded.