Soaring CEO pay shows “obscene levels of pay inequality” say TUC

The High Pay Centre release details of 'High Pay Hour 2024'

4 Jan 2024| News

The High Pay Centre has estimated that FTSE 100 CEOs’ earnings for 2024 will surpass the median UK worker’s full time annual salary today, just before 1pm on Thursday 4 January.

They say:

“According to our calculations, the median FTSE 100 CEO’s earnings for 2024 will surpass the median annual salary for a full-time worker in the UK by around 1pm on Thursday 4 January,

The calculations are based on our analysis of the most recent CEO pay disclosures published in companies’ annual reports, combined with government statistics showing pay levels across the UK economy.

As with last year, the executive pay data suggests that CEOs will have to wait until the third working day of 2024 to surpass the annual pay of the median worker.

Median FTSE 100 CEO pay (excluding pension) currently stands at £3.81 million, 109 times the median full time worker’s pay of £34,963. This represents an 9.5% increase on median CEO pay levels as of March 2023, while the median worker’s pay has increased by 6%.

The figures come against a backdrop of calls from leading figures in the city and big business for UK CEOs to be paid more. In December 2023 Legal and General Investment Management adjusted their executive pay guidelines to permit firms they invest in to offer more generous incentive payments, while earlier in the year the London Stock Exchange Chief Executive argued that low CEO pay levels create a risk to the UK economy.”
Commenting on the publication of the High Pay Centre analysis, TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said:

“The Conservatives are presiding over – and enabling – obscene levels of pay inequality. While working people have been forced to suffer the longest wage squeeze in modern history, City bosses have been allowed to pocket bumper rises and bankers have been given unlimited bonuses.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. We need an economy that rewards work – not just wealth. That means putting workers on company boards to inject some much-needed common sense into boardrooms. It means taxing wealth fairly. And it means a government that is willing to work with unions and employers to drive up living standards for all. Under the Tories it is one rule for the super-wealthy and one rule for everybody else.”

FTSE CEO pay increased by £500,000 (16%) last year. According to the latest OBR forecasts – published after the Autumn Statement – real wages won’t even recover to their 2008 value until 2028.