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  • Writer's pictureInchmead

FTSE 100 bosses given 16% pay rise

The bosses of the UK’s 100 biggest companies saw their pay rise by almost 16% on average last year from £3.38m in 2021 to £3.91m in 2022, according to research by thinktank High Pay Centre

FTSE 100 chief executives collected average earnings around 118 times more than a typical UK worker on £33,000 a year, compared to 108 times in 2021 and 79 times in 2020.

This is the highest level of median pay since 2017, showing an increase of 16% on the median FTSE 100 CEO pay in 2021, which stood at £3.38m.

Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, was the highest paid last year, collecting £15.3m, around 464 times the pay of the median UK full-time worker.

This was followed by Charles Woodburn, the boss of BAE Systems, who made £10.7m, and Albert Manifold of CRH plc, who made £10.38m.

The bosses of BP and Shell were also among the top earners, with BP chief executive, Bernard Looney, earning over £10m, while Shell’s former CEO Ben van Beurden was paid £9.7m.

In response to the report, AstraZeneca said 12% of Sir Pascal's pay was fixed, while 88% of it was subject to share price and performance. The firm's share price has soared 81% in the past five years.

The company also pointed out that on a global basis, its chief executive pay was below big pharmaceutical competitors.

Overall, there were 57 companies (59%) that increased their CEO pay in 2022, although a decrease from 2021 where 72 companies (74%) increased their CEO pay.

The three largest absolute increases were at BP, with an increase of £5.6m, followed by BAE systems and Centrica, each at £3.6m respectively.

Paul Nowak, Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary, said: ‘While millions of families have seen their budgets shredded by the cost of living crisis, city directors have enjoyed bumper pay rises.

‘This is why workers must be given seats on company boards to inject some much-needed common sense and restraint. We need an economy that delivers better living standards for all – not just those at the top.’

FTSE 350 firms spent over a billion on executive pay, with £1.33bn awarded to 570 executives, the think tank found. On top of this, 96% of FTSE 100 companies paid their CEO an annual bonus, up from 87% in the previous year.

CEO pay had fallen slightly during the coronavirus pandemic but is now back up to the highest since 2017, when it hit £3.97m on average for FTSE 100 bosses.

Luke Hildyard, the director of the High Pay Centre, said: ‘At a time when so many households are struggling with living costs, an economic model that prioritises half-a-million-pound pay rise for executives who are already multimillionaires is surely going wrong somewhere.

‘How major employers distribute the wealth that their workforce creates has a big impact on people’s living standards. We need to give workers more voice on company boards, strengthen trade union rights and enable low and middle income earners to get a fairer share in relation to those at the top.'


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