Inc. published its annual listing of America’s 500 fastest-growing private companies (“Inc. 500” September 2016, pp. 20–34. [For the larger complete list of the top 5,000, visit Inc.’s Web site ]). The list itself is helpful and we can learn much from it. To extract additional value, Inc. quizzed the CEOs of these companies about all aspects of how they choose to do business (“How Dreamers Become Doers” pp. 44–48). One of the questions asked involved the wage difference between the lowest paid full-time employee and the highest paid full-time employee. Here is a breakdown of the answers to that question (p. 46):
While the data itself is very interesting, I think that it hides much more than it reveals. Here are the questions that are not answered, but I would like to see answered:
- To what extent is the wage differential correlated with revenue or number of employees? That relationship may not necessarily be linear.
- To what extent is the wage differential driven by the industry or market sector?
- To what extent is the wage differential correlated with rigid pay scales as opposed to “more flexible” recruitment and hiring decisions?
- Is the less-than-$20k segment comprised solely of smaller companies or a combination of all sized companies?
- Does the less-than-$20k segment simply reflect fiscal realities or does it reflect an intentional policy or ethical commitment to maintain a smaller wage spread throughout the workforce?
Now there’s fertile soil for some business students’ research projects!