Chief executives of the UK’s 100 biggest companies have seen their pay jump by 39% to an average of £3.4m, compared with £2.5m in 2020 during the height of the coronavirus pandemic when many bosses took a voluntary pay cut as they placed millions of employees on furlough. CEO pay has also surpassed the £3.25m median recorded in 2019, before the pandemic according to research by the High Pay Centre thinktank and the Trades Union Congress.
The jump in executive pay means that the average UK CEO now collects 109 times that paid to the average British worker, up from 79 times in 2020.
The data also shows that FTSE 100 CEOs’ annual bonuses jumped to £1.4m compared with £828,000 in 2020. Nine in 10 of the bosses received a bonus.
In total, the FTSE 100 firms spent more than £720m on pay awarded to 224 top executives.
Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the TUC, said the growing disparity between pay at the top and that paid to workers is fuelling the cost of living crisis.
“Workers deserve a fair share of the wealth they create. But right now, CEO pay is soaring while working people experience the biggest real wage falls in 20 years, she said. “These unbalanced pay policies have seen the gap widen between workers and bosses this year, adding to the cost of living crisis."
Luke Hildyard, director of the High Pay Centre, said: “Very high executive pay is a big part of the cost of living problem. If large employers are paying millions more to already very wealthy executives, that makes it harder to fund pay increases for low and middle income workers."
The highest paid FTSE 100 CEO, according to the research, was Sebastien De Montessus of Endeavour, which operates goldmines in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Senegal. He was paid £16.9m. The second-highest paid boss was Pascal Soriot of AstraZeneca, who was paid £13.9m.