FTSE bosses paid typical worker's annual salary in 33 hours

Unions say the pay gap should be a source of national shame

(Image credit: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Unions say it should be a “source of national shame” that senior bosses in the UK’s top 100 companies take just 33 hours to be paid more than the typical worker’s annual salary.

FTSE 100 chief executives starting work on 2 January will by the end of today have been paid more than the average wage of £29,559, the report from the High Pay Centre suggests.

Analysis of the data also revealed that the average FTSE 100 chief was paid £3.46m in 2018, equivalent to £901.30 an hour.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Tim Roache, general secretary of the GMB union, said: “It should be a source of national shame that in just a handful of days, company fat cats will have made more money than the typical UK full-time worker will earn in the entire year.”

Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, added: “This tells you everything about how unfair our economy is. Every working person plays a part in creating Britain’s wealth. But people at the top are taking more than their share.”

Andrea Leadsom, the business secretary told the BBC the pay gap was “concerning” but claimed that reforms to the rules on reporting executive pay would help shine a light on the issue.

The Guardian predicts that the issue will become even more prominent this year because individual companies with more than 250 staff will have to publish pay ratios between top earners and the rest of staff in their annual reports for the first time.

Peter Cheese, chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said: “Pay ratio reporting will rightly increase scrutiny on pay and reward practices, but reporting the numbers is just the start. We need businesses to step up and justify very high levels of pay for top executives, particularly in relation to how the rest of the workforce is being rewarded.”

Personnel Today agreed, stating the reporting of pay ratio is an “opportunity” to win employees’ trust.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For a round-up of the most important stories from around the world - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news agenda - try The Week magazine. Start your trial subscription today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.