Top defense industry bosses are earning more than their counterparts in banking, and their pay probably won’t slide even if the U.S. trims military spending.
Chief executives of the top five U.S. military contractors were paid a total of $107 million last year, 43 percent more than the heads of the five biggest U.S. banks, who made $75 million. That’s a reversal from 2007, when the defense executives received $97 million, 41 percent less than the $163 million that went to the top banking chief executives.
Although some politicians may question compensation at the top weapons makers amid attempts to reduce the nation’s deficit, pay probably won’t plunge like it did at banks following the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent bailout of financial firms, said Pete Smith, a Washington-based compensation consultant.
“I doubt that it would be anything like the hue and cry you had over Wall Street,’’ said Smith, president of Smith Compensation Consulting. “You’re going to see a flattening over the next year or two or three of compensation for defense contractors if things go the way everybody expects them to go.’’