British CEO pay doubles in half a decade

Oct 29 2007 by Nic Paton Print This Article

The average salary for a UK FTSE-100 chief executive is now £737,000, according to latest data, with incentives and sharing options tipping the total package over the £3 million mark for the first time.

According to researcher Income Data Services, the average total remuneration package for a chief executive working for one of Britain's top 100 companies is now £3,174,000.

Over the same period the average earnings of full-time workers grew by £5,000 to more than £30,000, the research also pointed out.

It was not just the top tier seeing sharp increases either. The study also found that earnings of chief executives of the FTSE 250 firms had increased by 90 per cent since 2001/2, reaching an average of £1.4 million each.

The survey adds weight to complaints by unions that CEOs on both sides of the Atlantic are over-paid for what they do, despite moves by both the U.S. and UK governments to limit so-called "fat cat" pay and encourage greater transparency.

A study at the end of August by the Institute for Policy Studies and Boston-based group United for a Fair Economy found that the CEOs of the 500 largest U.S. companies took home an average of $10.8 million in total compensation in 2006.

This meant the typical CEO of a top U.S. corporation earned more in a single workday than the $29,544 the average American took home in an entire year, it suggested.

The top 386 CEOs also enjoyed perks worth an average of $438,342 in 2006. A minimum wage worker would need to work 36 years to earn as much as CEOs obtained just in perks last year, the IPS study found.

Union body the TUC attacked the latest UK figures, with TUC general secretary Brendan Barber branding the disparity between workers and executives as "morally offensive greed".

He said: "Britain's top directors clearly have no shame. Year in, year out they have been paying themselves far bigger rises than they are prepared to pay their staff while lecturing the rest of us on the need for low taxes. It beggars belief that they are somehow working twice as hard as five years ago."