Your view of the labor market strikes me as extremely naive,
My view is based on how I approach and am successful in the labor market. I have worked minimum wage jobs when the most I could negotiate for was minimum wage and have since learned what to do to get much higher pay. Most of that learning came not from schools, but from library books, purchased books, seminars, internet and such. The most important thing I learned was how to present myself in the most attractive manner. What Color Is Your Parachute earned me at least an extra $15,000 a year between on job and the next.
as are most models that assume a fair and equal balance of power between worker and employer.
This is not my model. I know that when I am an employee there are many things over which I have no control, but a few things over which I do. That is why I learned how to increase my own power with respect to employers. The easiest way to earn more money is to make the manager look good in the eyes of her managers and continue to remind that manager what you are doing for them (most people have short memories when you help them). Any person who wants to be successful in a particular system needs to learn that system inside and out. If you want to be a successful employee who gets rewarded, then you need to learn how to be an excellent employee who gets rewarded in that system - so long as it meets your code of ethics. If control matters to you, then you need to learn what it takes to become someone who is granted control - so long as it meets your code of ethics.
Expecting others to change just to make you happy is naive.
Employers can usually wait longer to fill a position without starving than a worker can wait to take a position (variably, depending on unemployment and other factors).
This assumes a closed system where all employers are waiting out the potential pool of employees, and it assumes some form of right to maintain one’s geographical location. A manufacturer that relies on one source for a critical raw material is at great risk of going out of business. An employee that relies on one employer is at great risk of losing everything. A person who wants to be an employee needs to always keep their eyes and ears open for potential changes in their company and options of what to do to improve their life or at least protect their family when those changes occur. Also, an employee should have more than one source of income, such as a paying hobby, a rental property, some kind of side business, etc., because the employment market is volatile and it is naive to act otherwise.
The time to dig the second well is before the first one runs dry.
The ability to enhance one’s skills and marketability is contingent on education, a resource which is allocated often on the basis of pre-exisiting wealth and social position, so CEOs are a lot more likely to start rich and end that way than start poor and end rich, though one can always find exceptions.
Continuing education can be negotiated for with one’s employment contract. People learn things from one employer that they can take to another employer for higher pay. Even a person who starts in a very low-paying position is learning things that either should merit them pay increases at that employer or that they can take to another employer and get more money for.
And ultimately, resources taken out of a company by a CEO, as salary or stock or whatever, are no longer available to improve wages or conditions for workers or add value to the company, which might then improve wages, pensions, stockholder value, etc.
Don’t the stockholders, who own the company, recognize this? Wouldn’t they take action if they thought the company was being ripped off by the C-levels? There is some stockholder revolt going on, especially in companies where a large stockholder is the pension fund of the employees.
Sometimes the thing the stockholders want for a particular company is a quick profit in the form of breaking up the company to liquidate the stock at the highest rate. That kind of activity is never secret - any person with an internet connection can find out how stockholders feel about their company and what is going on in their current industry and take appropriate action.
And none of these issues even touches on the question of what is fair and just, which I already suspect is not a question that moves you particularly.
Pointless ad hominem. Define the objective standards of fair and just.
I’m not at all convinced that the playing field is close to level for a CEO and a entry-level worker,
It’s not. The playing field is not level for a Vet relative to a janitor either, is it, Doc? Are you ready to lower your rate so that you don’t earn more than the people who clean your office? How would your family feel about that?
so they clearly do not “do the same thing.”
A CEO earns more by deomstrating his worth to the BOD and the stockholders (for whom the BOD works) and an employee earns more by demonstrating his worth to the employer. Each person needs to work out the details of their particular position and figure out the best way to get the highest compensation they can earn - so long as it meets their code of ethics. And always keep in mind that everyone has a different code.