Ayco InnerCircle®

The State of Executive Compensation in 2021

Executive compensation is a multifaceted topic with potentially substantial impact on companies. The four panelists in this session explored trends and themes in executive compensation, including the impact of COVID-19, recent reporting and metrics outcomes, and “Say on Pay.”



  • There is a high-priority focus on non-financials, as shareholders and the public become more interested in how companies are tackling not only their own issues, but the world’s issues, whether environmental, social or employee well-being.
  • Compensation is often reflective of company culture. The pandemic and social justice action of the past year have accelerated the stakeholder capitalism movement. Today, the focus is on how all employees are treated.
  • The panelists agreed that DE&I is the most common metric for an incentive plan. In fact, it is important for companies to align what they are saying about DE&I internally and externally and the connection between it and how they are incentivizing their executives.
  • Organizations should have an annual plan on how they will engage with shareholders, particularly if they are making changes to compensation structures. If an organization doesn’t get the shareholder support it expected, it must further engage and respond in some way to the feedback it receives to demonstrate that it took action as a result of what it heard.