Britain’s top bosses have already made more money in 2.5 days than you will all year
British bosses have already made more money in the first two and a half work days of 2017 than most people will make over the entire year, in what researchers have dubbed “Fat Cat Wednesday.”
According to the High Pay Centre, the salary gap across the UK is now such that directors earning £1,000 ($1,228) per hour will by around noon Wednesday have passed the annual salary of the average British worker – just over £28,000.
Figures calculated by the think tank estimate FTSE 100 CEOs earning nearly £4 million in 2015. In most cases, the High Pay Centre notes, bosses make an astounding 129 times more than their employees at the end of a work year.
“Our new year calculation is not designed to make the return to work harder than it already is,” said High Pay Centre director Stefan Stern. “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.”
Shortly after becoming prime minister, Theresa May described the growing salary gap between employers and employees as “irrational” and “unhealthy.” She also promised to “tackle corporate irresponsibility” and “reform capitalism.”
But Stern and his group believe the continued and disproportionate rise in CEO salaries will further Britons’ frustrations with the elites, especially as average salaries are expected to stagger and living costs to markedly rise post-Brexit.
“The situation is likely to get worse before it gets better,” said the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development head of policy, Ben Willmott. “Higher inflation in 2017 will mean many frontline workers will face a pay squeeze at a time when FTSE 100 CEO pay is already 129 times that of the average employee.”
The High Pay Centre worked out its figures by“making the generous assumption”that Britain’s 100 top bosses worked 12 hours a day, three out of every four weekends, and took no more than 10 days annual leave. Were they to start working on Monday January 2, they would have already amassed over £28,000 on their average £1,009 an hour earnings. The National Living Wage for workers over the age of 25 is currently set as £7.20 an hour.
“Working people deserve a fair share of the wealth they help create. But while the pay of top executives has been rocketing up, the average weekly wage is still worth less than it was nine years ago,” said Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Secretary Frances O’Grady in response to the Centre’s findings.
Both Stefan and O’Grady believe that more employees’ representation on company boards would soften the blow and possibly create some leverage for workers on the lowest pay
“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,” the High Pay Centre chief said.
Some of Britain’s fattest cats include advertising tycoon Sir Martin Sorrell, who reportedly received over £70.4 million in 2015 from his company WPP (up from just under £43 million in 2014), and BP boss Bob Dudley, who is on a £13 million salary (£9 million, 2014).