THE earnings of Britain’s top company executives have doubled in the past five years to a new record of more than £3m each, according to new research.
Total pay of chief executives of the top 100 firms has reached new heights because of ever increasing incentive payments, according to a study by pay analysts Incomes Data Services.
Over the same period, the average earnings of full-time workers across the country as a whole increased by £5,000 to just over £30,000 a year.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber reacted with anger to the findings, saying: “Britain’s top directors clearly have no shame. Year in, year out they have been paying themselves far bigger rises than they are prepared to pay their staff while lecturing the rest of us on the need for low taxes.”
The IDS report said pay experts were now questioning the current level of boardroom earnings, adding that calls for action to limit wage growth were increasing.
A recent poll of pay experts by IDS found more than half thought executive directors were overpaid and two thirds believed wage differentials were too wide.
The study also found that earnings for chief executives of the FTSE 250 firms have increased by 90% since 2001/2 to an average of £1.4m each.
The salaries of directors in FTSE 350 firms rose by 9.3% in the past year alone compared with wage settlements across the economy as a whole of 3.5%, said IDS.
Chief executives in FTSE 100 firms were paid average salaries of £737,000 in the last financial year, but total earnings averaged £3,174,000 when incentive payments and share options were added.
Steve Tatton, one of the report’s authors, said: “It is no surprise really. The potential maximum awards from all types of incentive scheme are being received today.
“What passed for maximum performance five years ago now passes for on-target levels of achievement.”
The TUC said it would be more honest if top executives said they paid themselves huge rises “because they can”.