Losing Ground At The Top

It wasn't too many years ago that U.S. managers led the world in the size of their paychecks. But in 1994, reports a Wyatt Co. survey, U.S. managers heading up $100 million operations took home less than their counterparts in a number of countries, including Mexico. (The estimates in the chart below reflect 1994 exchange rates, so Mexican pay is no longer so cushy.)

The dollar's decline since 1986 and recent U.S. pay restraint are two reasons why U.S. managers have lost relative ground. Another is the economic explosion in emerging nations. But Americans still have one edge: They are among the few executives who get stock options, and Wyatt says that adding this to the tally would lift U.S. compensation closer to the top of the list.

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