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FTSE 100 bosses earn average worker’s annual pay in just three days

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

The typical FTSE 100 CEO will have earned the same amount of money by 5:30pm today as a full-time employee receives for working the whole of 2021.

It takes just 34 hours or three working days for ‘fat cat’ bosses’ pay to outstrip the average employee’s annual wage of £30,353, calculations reveal. This is up from the 33 hours reported last year.

The High Pay Centre (HPC) and The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) revealed that top bosses earn 119 times the annual pay of the average worker.

Estimates suggest it was around 50 times at the turn of the millennium or 20 times in the early 1980s.

Latest data from 2019 showed that the average FTSE 100 CEO earned £3.61m, the lowest level since 2011. This is 0.5% lower than the £3.63m median pay reported in 2018.

The highest paid CEO in 2019 was Tim Steiner of Ocado, who received £58.73m. This is 1,935 times the median salary of a full-time UK worker.

At this rate, it would take an average full-time worker approximately eight years to earn what Tim Steiner could earn in one day.

HPC data revealed that 50 firms paid less to their CEOs in 2019 than in 2018, with the number of companies paying their CEOs more than £10m dropping from eight to six.

However, 49 companies paid more to their CEOs in 2019, with three firms paying their CEOs more than double than in 2018.

The HPC report noted: “Factors such as the increasing role played by the finance industry in the economy, the outsourcing of low-paid work and the decline of trade union membership have widened the gaps between those at the top and everybody else over recent decades.

“These figures will raise concern about the governance of big businesses and whether major employers are distributing pay in a way that rewards the contribution of different workers fairly. They should also prompt debate about the effects that high levels of inequality can have on social cohesion, crime, and public health and wellbeing.”

CEO pay during the coronavirus pandemic

HPC found that as of July 2020, 36 companies had made cuts to CEO pay, predominantly in those sectors hit hardest by the pandemic – retail, hospitality, construction, manufacturing, banks and other financial services.

Measures include temporary deferral of salaries, reduction of salaries (typically 20%) and cancellation of bonuses.