Fat Cat Wednesday: CEOs earn more by midday than employees all year


05 Jan 2017


The High Pay Centre think tank has said that top bosses will have earned more than average workers earn in a year by midday today.

Branded as “Fat Cat Wednesday”, twelve o’clock will mark the UK’s top CEOs passing the average UK salary of £28,200. The group published research that compares the earnings of top executives at FTSE 100 firms with average UK pay. FTSE 100 CEOs reportedly make almost £4 million a year, or approximately £1,000 per hour.

This means that it would take around 28 hours’ work in the New Year to pass the average UK wage – which today marks. The hourly figure of £1,009 is calculated on the assumption - which the group calls generous - that CEOs work 12 hours a day, including three out of every four weekends, and take fewer than 10 days holiday per year.

Stefan Stern, High Pay Centre Director, said this was an important reminder of the unfair pay gap existing in the UK. The group have coined today ‘Fat Cat Wednesday’ as a campaign to highlight the staggering pay gap, in the hope of prompting government action. Mr Stern says: "We hope the Government will recognise that further reform to pay practices are needed if this gap is to be closed." Today’s news highlights recent findings from Croner Reward, when figures found that the average employee earns just 14% of a CEO salary.

Clare Parkinson, Business Manager at Croner Reward says: “Our 2016/17 Director’s Rewards and Clerical Rewards reports showed that for the SME market in the UK, the average total pay of a Chief Executive was £143,640, compared with the average salary of a UK Clerical worker at £19,689. “These figures differ from the findings of the High Pay Centre as we are considering different scales, but both clearly highlight a pay gap between top positions and average employees. “Today’s campaign marks another step forward for action to tackle unfair pay gaps in certain industries. “We have observed pay for over 40 years and there has always been a pay gap between top positions and an average employee.  For organisations who feel they need to review salaries across the board in light of this news, an external pay and benefits consultancy can be beneficial in ensuring that emotions are taken off the table and decisions around pay are independent, fair and justifiable.”

Government proposals surrounding the pay gap were published in November, which mentioned:

  • Forcing companies to publish pay ratios that show the difference in earnings between the Chief Executive and an average employee
  • Improving the effectiveness of remuneration committees and the extent to which they must consult shareholders and the wider company on pay
  • Introducing binding votes on executive pay packages

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