It looked at how many hours the CEOs of some of the biggest corporations would have to work in order to earn the same amount an average worker in their country would earn in a year. The exercise is meant to highlight the stark inequalities in some societies.
South Africa has long been criticised for being one of the most economically unequal in the world.
All the same, Quartz calculated that South African CEOs topped its list, taking just 7.3 hours to earn the national average annual wage, while the US were second and third, respectively, with 13.2 and 17.2 hours of work needed to be put in to make what the average person would by the end of the year.
This does not, however, mean that South African CEOs earn more than their executive counterparts in other countries (they often make “far less”). It instead points to the fact that the average incomes for everyday workers in the US, UK, Canada and other developed European and Asian economies are higher.
As Quartz explains: “South Africa came out on top of the income gap chart. While CEOs in South Africa make far less on average than their American counterparts, their salaries were 541 times more than the average income in their own country. It took CEOs in South Africa just over seven hours to make $13 194 (R180 000), which is the country’s average yearly wage.”
They worked out that South African CEOs would have made that amount by the afternoon of their first day back at work, if they clocked into the office this past Tuesday (the first working day of the year) … and assuming they weren’t still sunning themselves on a private yacht somewhere in the Caribbean.
Quartz said the US wage gap is also “extreme”.