'Grotesque extremes' | UK's top CEOs received 16% pay rise, think tank reveals

UK's top CEOs received 16% pay rise, think tank reveals

The CEOs of some of the UK’s largest companies received a 16% pay increase in the last year, the think tank High Pay Centre reveals.

The figures suggest that the average salary of a FTSE 100 CEO hit £3.91m in 2022, up £530,000 (16%) from the previous year – this being the highest annual pay recorded since 2017 for this group.

The research revealed that the average salary of a FTSE 100 CEO was 118 times that of the average salary of a UK worker, £33,000 a year. This compares to chief execs getting paid 108 times more than the average worker in 2021 and 79 times more in 2020, suggesting the gap between regular worker salaries and executive salaries is growing.

Some of the highest earners on the list include AstraZeneca’s CEO Sir Pascal Soriot, who was earning as much as £15.32m in 2022, BAE Systems CEO Charles Woodburn, who earned a comfortable £10.69m, and CRH Chief Executive Albert Manifold, who earned £10.38m last year.

Going wrong somewhere’

Many spectators have criticised the figures which come against the backdrop of average worker salaries struggling to keep up with rising costs in the cost-of-living crisis.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Secretary, Paul Nowak, said: “While millions of families have seen their budgets shredded by the cost-of-living crisis, City directors have enjoyed bumper pay rises. This is why workers must be given seats on company boards to inject some much-needed common sense and restraint.

“We need an economy that delivers better living standards for all - not just those at the top. But under the Tories Britain has become a land of grotesque extremes. As households across the country have struggled to put food on the table, sales of Porsches have hit record levels.”

The High Pay Centre figures come only a week after the ONS revealed that the average pay of workers reached record high levels – at 7.8% from the previous year. Despite this, the average salaries of workers are still only just keeping up with the rise in goods and services.

Wages and inflation

The figures also come at a time when many public figures have blamed the record high salaries of average workers as a leading cause of inflation. With many spectators, including the TUC, saying the salaries of UK’s bosses have a far more significant impact on the economy than that of the average worker.

Pensions experts and political campaigner Ros Altmann, commented on the figures: Ros Altmann said: “A degree of restraint would have come in handy at the top as we get to grips with soaring inflation.”

Yet, the economic think tank the Adam Smith Institute defended the latest figures, saying a “knee-jerk” reaction to the numbers wasn’t helpful, and there should be more emphasis on its benefits to the economy.

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