Pay inequalities remain constant, research suggests


Pay inequalities at the country’s biggest companies have remained constant this year despite the cost-of-living crisis, according to a new report.

The difference in median pay between chief executives and other employees in the FTSE 350 was 57:1 last year, slightly up from 56:1 in 2021, latest figures showed.

Across the larger FTSE 100 companies, the gaps were wider, with a median chief executive/employee pay ratio of 80:1, said the High Pay Centre.

The think tank said its previous research found that 76% of people think top earners should not be paid more than 20 times their low and middle-earning colleagues.

The High Pay Centre urged companies to provide more detailed information on how many jobs they provide at different pay levels, and that outsourced workers, who often carry out low-paid work should be included in the pay ratio calculations

The report also recommended that firms should be required to communicate information on chief executive (CEO) to worker pay gaps directly to their workforce, as well as publishing the figures in their annual report.

High Pay Centre director Luke Hildyard said: “We need a fairer, more equal, more inclusive economy where companies create lots of well-paid jobs for all their workers, rather than a handful of obscenely paid roles for those at the top.

“The pay ratio trends highlight a moment of solidarity during the pandemic when CEO to employee pay gaps narrowed, but that seems to have been lost as gaps have widened to pre-pandemic levels over the subsequent two years.”

TUC general-secretary Paul Nowak said: “Workers deserve a fairer share of the wealth they create. Too many firms are guilty of feather-bedding those at the top at the expense of the wider workforce.

“At a time when food and energy bills are sky-high there is simply no justification for such huge pay inequality.

“Corporate excess is bad for businesses and bad for Britain – often encouraging short-term risk-taking and greed over longer-term success.

“That’s why it is vital to have workers on company boards to inject some much-needed common sense – and fairness – into boardrooms.”

Laurence Turner, head of policy at the GMB union, said: “The UK is being held back because real wages are stagnating for most people while employers channel money to those at the top.”