22nd Aug 2023 06:06
(Alliance News) - The bosses of Britain's biggest companies saw their pay surge by 16% last year as most workers saw their pay packets outstripped by inflation, according to new research.
The High Pay Centre said chief executive officers for firms on the FTSE 100 – the index of the UK's largest publicly listed companies – had an average pay rise of around GBP500,000 in 2022.
Unions said the data shows that Britain has become "a land of grotesque extremes".
Median pay for a FTSE 100 CEO increased from GBP3.38 million in 2021 to GBP3.91 million in 2022, the High Pay Centre said.
It represents a continued upward trend after it dropped to GBP2.46 million in 2020 as companies were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The research shows that the gap between bosses and workers widened further over the year, with it recording that the median FTSE 100 CEO was paid 118 times the median UK full-time worker, up from 108 times in 2021.
AstraZeneca PLC boss Pascal Soriot was the highest-earning FTSE 100 chief after receiving pay of GBP15.3 million for the year.
Other particularly highly paid chief executives included Charles Woodburn of BAE Systems PLC, Bernard Looney of BP PLC and Ben van Beurden of Shell PLC.
The High Pay Centre has called for new requirements for companies to include a minimum of two elected workforce representatives on the remuneration committees that set executive pay.
Luke Hildyard, director of the think tank, said: "At a time when so many households are struggling with living costs, an economic model that prioritises a half-a-million-pound pay rise for executives who are already multi-millionaires is surely going wrong somewhere.
"How major employers distribute the wealth that their workforce creates has a big impact on people's living standards.
"We need to give workers more voice on company boards, strengthen trade union rights and enable low- and middle-income earners to get a fairer share in relation to those at the top."
It comes a week after official figures showed that average wages are continuing to grow behind rises in the cost of living.
The Office for National Statistics said regular pay growth, which excludes bonuses, reached 7.8% over the three months to June compared to a year earlier, but actually dropped by 0.6% once inflation was taken into account.
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."
By Henry Saker-Clark, PA Deputy Business Editor
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