Thought leadership

Bosses at top UK companies earn 100 times that of their lowest-paid workers, a new report says. The research, by the High Pay Centre, shows that FTSE 100 chief executives earn 73 times more than the average earner at their companies.

Among a broader range of the top 350 UK public companies, bosses are paid 53 times their average employee. But there are large variations, with some bosses bringing in thousands of times the pay of the worst-paid staff.

At Ocado, the online grocer, its chief executive is paid £2,605 per year for every £1 the average employee earns. The firm paid its boss Tim Steiner a one-off £58m bonus, it said, which made it an outlier using last year’s figures.

Retailers often had the biggest ratios, with many workers on salaries at or close to the minimum wage. Meanwhile money managers and banks had much lower gaps, said the report by the High Pay Centre and the Standard Life Foundation.

“These findings show that quite low levels of pay are commonplace for large numbers of workers at many of our major companies,” said High Pay Centre director Luke Hildyard.

“Hopefully, the disclosures can help investors, policymakers and the companies themselves think more deeply on how to improve fairness at work and pay for low-paid workers, in particular.”

In August, a report by the CIPD, the professional body, and the High Pay Centre, said the UK’s biggest listed companies had failed to address their bosses’ huge salaries during the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite some high-profile reports of executive pay cuts, these were mainly “superficial or short-term”, it said. Nor have firms addressed a culture of excessive bonuses.

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