The Who’s Better Off Game:Management Workers

Think chief executives have had it easy under Bush? Well, you’d be right. And you’d be wrong. The slumping economy has hit management employees head-on. The management boom of the late ’90’s evaporated as companies folded or scaled back. But those managers who survived have seen salaries soar — particularly among the highest-paid executives…


So, are management employees better off today than in 2000? Well, yes and no. But mostly yes.

There’s no doubt that managers — particularly chief executives — endured a rough few years early in George W. Bush’s tenure. No, we’re not talking about the financial scandals which have sent so few executives to prison. We’re talking about the death of the late 90’s management boom.

The casualties of that death can be seen across the country: Nearly 130,000 CEO jobs have disappeared since 2000. But the real picture isn’t quite so grisly. Those executives that managed to keep their jobs have made out handsomely. Between 2000 and 20003, CEO salaries skyrocketed. Even adjusted for inflation, CEO’s are making nearly 25 percent more today than they were when George W. Bush took office. And that figure doesn’t account for the huge windfall of the Bush tax cuts. For average filers earning more than $100,000 (the average salary for CEO’s in 2000 was 104,630), the Bush tax cut reduced taxes by nearly 17 percent.

Other managers haven’t fared quite as well as CEO’s. Human resources managers, for instance, have seen a similar hemorrhaging of jobs — between 2000 and 2003, nearly 24 percent of all HR manager jobs were elminated. But they have also seen wages climb — just not as dramatically as their better-paid management colleagues. Human resources managers are earning about 11 percent more today, in real income, than they were in 2000.

    Members like you

    Mother Jones is a nonprofit, and stories like this are made possible by readers like you. or to help fund independent journalism.