Alphabet‘s Chief Executive Officer, Sundar Pichai, received a total compensation of approximately $226 million in 2022, with stock awards accounting for around $218 million, according to a securities filing on Friday. The sum is over 800 times the median pay of an Alphabet employee. However, this pay discrepancy comes at a time when the parent company of Google has been cutting jobs worldwide. Earlier this year, the tech giant announced plans to slash 12,000 jobs globally, equivalent to 6% of its total workforce.
Recently, Google employees in London and Zurich staged walkouts in response to job cuts, with over 200 workers being laid off in the latter. The pay difference has also drawn scrutiny, as it highlights the wide gap between the company’s top earners and the average worker. It is not uncommon for CEOs of major tech companies to receive large compensation packages, but the timing of Pichai’s earnings in the midst of a cost-cutting drive has raised eyebrows.
The news of Pichai’s 2022 compensation package is likely to spark discussion about pay inequality in the tech industry, which has been a topic of debate for some time. Companies have come under increasing pressure to address the issue and narrow the pay gap between top executives and rank-and-file employees. The issue has gained prominence as more workers demand fair wages and benefits, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to the pay gap, Alphabet has pledged to increase diversity and equity in its workforce, as well as its supply chain. The company has also taken steps to provide better benefits, such as paid family leave, to its employees. However, the large compensation package awarded to Pichai is likely to renew calls for more to be done to tackle the issue.