Middle-market CFOs earn an average of less than 40 percent as much as CEOs, according to an analysis of 600 public companies by accounting and consulting firm BDO USA.

The gap is also growing between the two corner-office jobs. While CEOs earned about $2,338,874 on average, according to BDO, CFOs earned an average of approximately $927,743. However, both CEOs and CFOs enjoyed significant pay hikes in the past year, with CFO compensation rising 19 percent on average and CEO pay up about 25 percent.

“CEOs have always earned significantly more than other executives, but we have seen an even greater divide in recent years due to an increase in CEO pay leverage tied to the performance of their company’s equity,” said Randy Ramirez, a senior director in the Compensation and Benefits Practice at BDO. “We expect CFO pay to start catching up within the next few years as the emphasis on pay-for-performance trickles down to other top executives.”

Pay also differed according to industry in the study, with real estate CEO and CFOs both earning the most of any industry, at $3,362,145 and $1,295,864, respectively. That was about three times the average pay of the lowest-compensated CEOs and CFOs in the banking industry at $1,037,685 and $442,425, respectively. Other high earners included executives in the technology and energy industries, while retail execs joined those in banking on the low end of the pay spectrum.

The BDO study reflected trends at publicly traded companies with annual revenues from $25 million to $1 billion in the energy, health care, manufacturing, real estate, retail and technology industries, and publicly traded companies with assets between $50 million to $2 billion in the banking and financial services industries, based on proxy statements filed between May 15, 2010 and May 15, 2011.

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