Bosses have already earned in 5 days what average workers will for whole year

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The financial district in London (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The financial district in London (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The bosses at Britain’s biggest companies have already made more money this year than the average worker will make in the entire of 2023.

FTSE 100 chief executives worked less than three days before overtaking an average worker’s annual salary just before 2pm today - nine hours faster than last year’s four-day mark, according to the High Pay Centre thinktank.

The annual pay of CEOs at the nation’s biggest businesses stands at an average of £3.41million - £1078.26 per hour - 103 times that of the average full-time worker’s pay of £33,000.

CEO pay levels have increased by 39% compared to January last year, while a worker’s pay has only increased by 6%.

Across other sectors, top city lawyers, who have an average pay of £1.95million, would need to work until January 9 to see their earnings surpass the median worker’s annual pay next week.

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Bosses have already earned in 5 days what average workers will for whole yearA 999 ambulance call handler would need to work for almost 150 years to match the pay of the average CEO (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A partner at a 'Big Four' Accountancy firm, with an average salary of £911,000, would need to work until January 16.

Everyone in the top 1% of full time UK earners, making at least £145,000, will have overtaken the annual pay of the median full-time worker by March 23.

The stark findings come as the nation battles a cost-of-living crisis and soaring inflation, with thousands across the NHS, rail services and other sectors striking over pay and working conditions.

A 999 ambulance call handler would need to work for almost 150 years to match the pay of the average CEO, according to analysis by GMB union.

Gary Smith, GMB General Secretary, said: “A hard up 999 call handler would have to work for 150 years to earn what a CEO boss trousers in just 12 months. It’s an utter disgrace.

“NHS workers and others are being forced onto the picket lines just to make ends meet while these fat cats get the cream.

“Instead of hiding behind imaginary independent pay bodies, ministers need to speak to NHS workers about what they want to talk about – pay.”

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “Given the epidemic of profiteering that we have been seeing it’s no surprise that average pay for big bosses is now £3.41 million.

"But you have to ask - how any of them can ever deny ordinary workers a decent pay rise with a straight face?

"How can the government keep choosing to make ordinary workers and communities pay for the cost of living crisis they have been fuelling?"

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The High Pay Centre’s calculations are based on analysis of the most recent CEO pay disclosures published in companies’ annual reports, combined with government statistics showing pay levels across the UK economy.

Their workings assume CEOs work 62.5 hours a week, based on a study from the US by Harvard Business School. They said this equates to 12.5 hours a day.

“Discounting weekends and eight bank holidays in England and Wales, this equates to hourly pay of £1078.26 per hour on the basis of £3.41m annual pay,” it said.

High Pay Centre Director, Luke Hildyard said: “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.

“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.”

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Sophie Huskisson

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