Employment

Here’s how much more than you the UK's top CEOs earn

It takes on average just four days for a UK CEO to earn their frontline workers' yearly salary, according to Breakroom’s calculations.

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How much do you think your boss should earn? Image: Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

Everyone knows the big boss takes home a heavier pay packet, but exactly how much heavier can sometimes be hard to grasp.

A new tool lets you compare your own salary to that of some of the CEOs currently facing industrial action over low pay. Simply pop in your salary to find out how much more than you they really earn.

The pay of some of the UK’s top CEO’s has been thrown into the spotlight as many companies report record-breaking profits, despite increasing prices for customers and refusing to boost pay in line with soaring inflation.

Jobs board Breakroom, which analysed pay data from 2021, found that while the average frontline worker ​​at Royal Mail earned £11.75 per hour in 2021, company CEO Simon Thompson earned 26 times more, taking home a £596,000 salary. And while CEO of BT Group Philip Jansen earned £2.63million, his frontline workers were paid 113 times less, taking home on average £11.90 per hour. 

On average, it takes a UK CEO just four days to earn the salary of their frontline workers, Breakroom found.

With leading CEOs earning anywhere between 12 and 14,000 times their own workers’ pay, unions have called for pay ratio policies that would limit how much more a company CEO can earn compared to their employees.

A pay ratio would mean that CEOs “still get a good wage, more than their workers will ever see, but at least there should be some limits,” general secretary of the Communication Workers Union Dave Ward told the Big Issue. “We should be looking at curbing their profits during a cost of living crisis.”

Workers at Royal Mail and BT and Openreach have voted for strike action in recent months demanding higher pay for workers who’s real pay has decreased in value in the face of soaring inflation and rising prices. 

Taking part in a second day of industrial action, striking BT and Openreach workers have turned their anger to CEO Philip Jansen, who earns £3.5million a year. They dubbed him “food bank Phil” in reference to a food bank set up in a BT call centre for the company’s own staff, which was exposed by The Big Issue.

Jansen has since accepted a 32 per cent pay rise on his previous £2.65 million earnings used by Breakroom for the comparison.

Workers at Royal Mail were also set to go on strike for three days in late July to protest job cuts and some salaries being reduced by up to £7,000, union Unite has said. The strike was suspended after Royal Mail agreed to return to negotiations with the union. 

“No CEO should be earning hundreds or thousands of times their own workers’ pay and it’s unjustifiable that on average it takes just four days for a FTSE 100 CEO to earn the equivalent of a UK frontline worker’s annual salary,” said Anna Maybank, co-founder and CEO of Breakroom.

“Exorbitant CEO pay is one of the major contributors to rising inequality in the workplace, and it needs to be tackled.

Right now employers are facing the worst candidate shortage in history at the same time employees are facing a massive cost of living crisis,” she continued. 

The tool also revealed that Sainsbury’s boss Simon Roberts £3.8million salary is 202 times that of the average frontline supermarket worker.

Shareholders of Sainsbury’s recently voted against the supermarket becoming a real living wage employer.

But the most stark difference in earnings goes to Bet 365. CEO Denise Coates took home a staggering £298m in 2021, meaning she was paid 14,244 times more than her own frontline workers.

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