Fact Service January 2023

Top bosses earned year’s median salary in first 30 hours

FTSE 100 CEOs’ earnings for 2023 surpassed the median UK worker’s full time annual salary at around 2 pm on 5 January, after around just 30 hours’ work, the High Pay Centre has announced.

The charity says the figure highlights how top pay has increased dramatically following the easing of the Covid pandemic, after falling while lockdowns and other restrictions were in place. Last year, executive pay data suggested that CEOs would have to wait until the fourth working day of 2022 to overtake the median worker’s annual salary, while this year they have managed it in under three days.

Median FTSE 100 CEO pay currently stands at £3.41 million, 103 times the median full time worker’s pay of £33,000. This represents a 39% increase on median CEO pay levels as of January 2022, while the median worker’s pay has only increased by 6% over the same period.

“In the worst economic circumstances that most people can remember, it is difficult to believe that a handful of top earners are still raking in such extraordinary amounts of money,” High Pay Centre director Luke Hildyard commented.

“The UK economy really cannot afford for such a big share of the wealth that is created by all workers to be captured by such a tiny number of people at the top. To address declining living standards for the majority, we need measures to balance the distribution of incomes more evenly.”