What people earn: exploring salaries for 45 notable careers
At a moment when inequality in America is at its most extreme point in a century, it’s fascinating to see what people are paid. Obviously, salary isn’t everything—wealth is defined by what people have, but also what a family has: what safety nets are available, and how damaging a broken down car, an unexpected injury, or a cavity will be.
There’s value in knowing what people are paid—the taboo of talking of salaries leads to a practice that protects the privileged classes. As a man, a way to lean in for female workers is to be open about salaries. The pay gap remains invisible and thus unchangeable until it’s not. But what’s happening is larger than individual workers asking for more. A world where the highest-paid public employee is a football coach making $11.1 million and where an actor in two terrible films can make the same amount in a year that 50 Americans combined will make in a lifetime is a broken one. So as always, pay the teachers, pay the cooks, pay the housekeepers, and pay the bus drivers.
For this list, we looked at Bureau of Labor Statistics, leaned on Fortune and Forbes’ reporting, and looked elsewhere around the internet to find out what these 45 notable people and careers make.
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#1. Mark Wahlberg
Annual earnings: $68 million
Surprisingly, last year’s highest-paid actor was the star of “Daddy’s Home 2” and “Transformers: The Last Night,” the owner of the burger franchise Wahlburgers, and the face of an AT&T ad campaign. The one-time Funky Bunch frontman has certainly found a way to stay relevant and profitable—Ashey Ace and Hector the Booty Inspector made slightly less than $68 million in 2017.
#2. LeBron James
Annual earnings: $33.3 million
The 6-foot-8-inch small forward was paid $33.3 million to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season—making him the second-highest paid player in the National Basketball Association after Stephen Curry. But Lebron James’s on-court salary is only part of his net worth—Forbes estimates that James made $55 million in off-court endorsements last year.
#3. Candace Parker
Annual earnings: $113,500
The first pick in the 2008 Women's National Basketball Association draft and a two-time MVP award winner, Candace Parker is a true star of the women’s league. Unfortunately, because of the systemic sexism still alive and well in the sports world—and society as a whole—Parker’s salary, which is the top in the WNBA, is making over 160 times less money than Knicks center Joakim Noah—who was paid over $18 million to score a total of 12 points last season.
#4. Emma Stone
Annual earnings: $26 million
The star of the almost Academy Award winning “La La Land” was paid $26 million in 2017 according to Forbes. The actress mentioned in an interview with Out Magazine that she’s had male co-stars allow the studio to redirect some of their salary to Stone in order to close the gender pay gap. Even so, Stone, the highest-paid female actor of 2017 made less than the 14 highest-paid male actors.
#5. Tom Brady
Annual earnings: $28 million
The Patriots quarterback could very well be the best to ever play the position, but he’s never been paid like it. Instead, he’s taken team-friendly deals—his newest contract pays him an average of $20.5 million per year. He also makes an estimated $8 million per year in off-field endorsement deals with UGG and Under Armour.
#6. Director of Social Media Dan Scavino
Annual earnings: $179,900
Dan Scavino managed to parlay the role of Donald Trump’s caddy into a position in the White House where he is paid almost $180,000 per year. Scavino earns his wages shadow-tweeting for Trump. While there are probably better ways to use tax dollars, at least Scavino’s tweets haven’t yet started World War III.
#7. Patrick Kane
Annual earnings: $13.8 million
The highest-paid player in the National Hockey League, Chicago Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane is one of the stars of the league. While no one should shed a tear for anyone making almost $14 million per year, the NHL players earn much less than the other major sports—36 players in Major League Baseball made over $20 million in 2017.
#8. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
Annual earnings: $40 million
As the NFL faces existential crisis after existential crisis, one man sits at the center of it all, seemingly always making the wrong decision and constantly weathering a storm of negative press. But, for the owners, clearly there is value in putting someone else forward to talk about domestic violence, concussions, and the appearance of blackballing players for peacefully demonstrating. As long as the NFL remains hugely lucrative, Goodell will continue to earn his exorbitant, incentive-laded salary—he just reupped in December for five more seasons.
#9. CBS Ceo Les Moonves
Annual earnings: $69.3 million
Few people in television have the Midas touch like Les Moonves. In the same year he was promoted to his post at CBS, the network became the most-watched channel, and by 2005, they had six megahits: “Survivor,” “CSI,” “CSI: Miami,” “Cold Case,” “NCIS,” and “Without a Trace”. The 68-year-old is currently in a legal power struggle with Shari Redstone after the Viacom-CBS merger—it’s unclear who will run the new mega-conglomerate.
#10. Disney CEO Bob Iger
Annual earnings: $36.3 million
Since taking over Disney in 2005, Bob Iger has overseen the purchase of Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox. Under Iger’s leadership, Disney now owns the rights to Luke Skywalker, Captain America, Wolverine, and the grandpa from “Up.” They also own ABC, the station that airs “The Bachelor” franchise, and ESPN, which airs about 100 NBA games per season.2018 All rights reserved.