What if the peak of the wages of the big bosses had now passed in the United Kingdom? In 2020, according to a report by the High Pay Center think-tank published on Thursday, August 19, the CEOs of companies in the FTSE 100, the main UK stock index, received a 17% decrease in compensation compared to 2019, to 2, 69 million pounds (3.16 million euros).
This fall is the logical reflection of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of them having their emoluments linked to the stock market price of their company. This is the fourth consecutive year of decline. In 2017, their median compensation was £ 3.97 million; it fell to 3.63 million in 2018, 3.25 million in 2019 and therefore 2.69 million last year, the lowest level since 2009. This still represents a decrease of one third in the within four years.
Of course, that’s still huge sums of money, observes Luke Hildyard, director of the High Pay Center: “To be in the top 1% of those earning the most in the UK, you have to earn around £ 150,000 a year. These bosses earn ten times more! “ Moreover, this beginning of a downward trend is far from compensating for the inflation of the last four decades. “After the Second World War, and until the early 1980s, bosses received between ten and twenty times the salary of an average employee, notes Rachel Kay, who compiled the data for this report. Today, they earn 86 times more. “ The median UK salary is currently £ 31,400.
Strong political and media pressure
Moreover, if the economy did not collapse in 2020, it is only due to the intervention of the government of Boris Johnson. Almost a quarter of the companies in the FTSE 100 have benefited either from partial unemployment or from loans guaranteed by the State. “Given the difficulties encountered by many employees, is a 17% drop in bosses’ wages enough? “, asks Mme Kay. Against this backdrop, the High Pay Center remains very cautious and is reluctant to declare that a long-term downward movement has really started. Especially since the stock market rebound in 2021, compensation will increase again this year.
Since 2002, the remuneration of listed firms has been public and submitted to a (consultative) vote of the shareholders.
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