'Fat cat' bosses earn average yearly salary by lunchtime today

4 January 2017

The bosses of FTSE 100 companies will earn the average UK salary by lunchtime today, according to data compiled by the High Pay Centre.

Dubbed “fat cat Wednesday” by campaigners, the typical chief executive of a large company will earn more than the £28,200 UK average salary by midday today – in some cases bosses can earn more than £1,000 an hour.

In 2015, a chief executive of a FTSE 100 company earned 129 times the salary of an average worker at their company, the report claims.

The median chief executive pay in 2015 was £3.97 million, although many bosses earned far more. The report lists Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive officer of media agency WPP, as taking home £70.42 million, Tony Pidgeley, founder of builder Berkeley Group, as earning £23.3 million, and Reckitt Benckiser chief, Rakesh Kapoor, as receiving £23.2 million.

Meanwhile the national living wage for over-25s is currently £7.20 an hour. The High Pay Centre is calling for the mandatory publication of pay ratios to try and close the gap between workers and their bosses.

High Pay Centre director, Stefan Stern, says the government must act to reform chief executives’ pay. He says: “Our new year calculation is not designed to make the return to work harder than it already is. But ‘fat cat Wednesday’ is an important reminder of the continuing problem of the unfair pay gap in the UK.

“We hope the government will recognise that further reform to pay practices are needed if this gap is to be closed. That will be the main point in our submission to the business department in its current consultation over corporate governance reform.

“Effective representation for ordinary workers on the company remuneration committees that set executive pay, and publication of the pay ratio between the highest and average earner within a company, would bring a greater sense of proportion to the setting of top pay.”

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