Closing The Gap

Median CEO pay reaches $12.1 million—here's how much the 5 highest-paid leaders earn

Leslie 'Les' Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Corp.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Leslie 'Les' Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Corp.

It pays to be a CEO. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis of 2017 pay for S&P 500 leaders, median pay reached $12.1 million.

That's "a new post-recession high," the WSJ reports, and "most S&P 500 CEOs received raises of 9.7 percent or better last year."

Broadcom CEO Hock Tan topped the list of highest-paid leaders with a total compensation package of $103.2 million. The next CEO on the list, Les Moonves of CBS, took home $69.3 million in 2017.

Here how much the five highest-paid CEOs of 2017 earned last year and the year before.

5. Stephen Kaufer, TripAdvisor

2016 salary: $1.2 million
2017 salary: $47.9 million
Pay change: +3787 percent

4. Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner

2016 salary: $32.6 million
2017 salary: $49.0 million
Pay change: +50.2 percent

3. W. Nicholas Howley, TransDigm

2016 salary: $18.9 million
2017 salary: $61.0 million
Pay change: +223 percent

2. Leslie Moonves, CBS

2016 salary: $69.6 million
2017 salary: $69.3 million
Pay change: -0.3 percent

1. Hock Tan, Broadcom

2016 salary: $24.7 million
2017 salary: $103.2 million
Pay change: +318 percent

Of the S&P 500 leaders in 2017, only 25 were women, down from 26 in 2016. Female CEOs on the list "tended to make more than men, with half earning at least $14 million," the WSJ reports.

Still, when comparing the top paid women with the top paid men, the difference is significant: The highest-paid female CEO of 2017, Margaret Georgiadis, who ran Mattel from February 2017 to April 2018, earned $31.3 million. That's one-third of what Tan made in 2017. Next in line was Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, who earned $31.1 million, which is less than half of what Moonves made.

Among companies in general, not just those in the S&P 500, the CEO wage gap actually favors men. The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) found that, for full-time chief executives, women's earnings were 79.5 percent of men's. Women CEOs' median weekly earnings were $1,920, compared to men's median weekly earnings of $2,415.

As for the lowest-paid leaders, 26 CEOs in the S&P 500 made $5 million or less in 2017, including Warren Buffett, who earned a modest salary of $100,000 in 2017 and Larry Page, who accepts only $1 a year in official compensation.

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