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The average salary for chief executives fell by 13% between 2017 and 2018, but they still earned 117 times more than the average UK full-time worker, a report has found.

A boss of one of the UK’s largest listed 100 companies earns £3.5m a year on average, the CIPD, the professional body for HR found.

The average full-time worker in the UK earns £29,574.

The report also showed a continued big gender gap at the top of big firms.

In 2018, only six of the FTSE 100 companies had a female boss, down from seven in 2017.

The CIPD analyses executive pay, together with the High Pay Centre think tank every year.

CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese said: the gap between pay at the top and bottom of firms remained “unacceptably wide”.

“We must question if CEOs are overly focused on financial measures and are being incentivised to keep share prices high rather than focusing on the long-term health of their business,” he said.

‘Public confidence’


High Pay Centre director Luke Hildyard said: “There is still more to be done to align pay practices with the interests of wider society.”

He added it was important to “give the public confidence that our biggest businesses are working for the good of the economy as a whole, rather than the enrichment of a few people at the top”.

The CIPD and High Pay Centre made a number of recommendations:

High Pay Centre director Luke Hildyard said: “There is still more to be done to align pay practices with the interests of wider society.”

He added it was important to “give the public confidence that our biggest businesses are working for the good of the economy as a whole, rather than the enrichment of a few people at the top”.

The CIPD and High Pay Centre made a number of recommendations:

  • Pay for the top 1% of earners should be disclosed
  • Consider wider workforce reward practices, and understanding of organisational culture, fairness and investment in people
  • Link chief executive pay to both financial and non-financial measures of performance
  • Simplify chief executive reward packages and ensure they are linked to fewer and more meaningful measures of performance

For the first time, the study also looked at pay in the FTSE 250 companies, the 250 largest firms listed on the stock exchange after the FTSE 100 firms.

If found that, in contract to FTSE 100 pay, the salaries of chief executives in this group had stayed relatively steady. Pay averaged £1.58m in 2016 and 2018 with a 2% rise to £1.61m in 2017. Read more

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