UK’s top CEOs earn 120x more than workers

The pay gap between CEOs and the rest of the workforce is widening in Britain, with bosses of the country's top 100 listed companies earning 120 times more than average employees, according to a report published on Monday.

FTSE 100 chief executives' median total earnings – including bonuses and share awards – now stand at £3.3 million ($5.3), the annual report by Incomes Data Services (IDS) stated - over 120 times more than the £27,800 average full-time wage.

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Directors of top companies have also seen their total earnings shoot up. A 21 percent jump in total earnings was driven by a 44 percent increase in share-based incentive payments and a 12 percent increase in bonuses. A director now typically earns a total £2.43 million a year, according to IDS, which provides information on U.K. employment issues.

The report comes at a time of increasing frustration over the lack of wage growth in the U.K., despite broader economic expansion. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has ruled out a rise in interest rates until there is improved wage growth and productivity in the country.

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Over the year to June, increases in directors' basic salaries "remained muted", rising by "just" 2.5 percent, the report said. But this remains below the 1 percent annual wage growth (excluding bonuses) for average full-time employees, according to the U.K.'s Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Painting a stark picture of the widening pay gap between chief executives and the rest of the workforce, IDS' report showed that between 2000 and 2014 the median total earnings for FTSE CEO increased by 278 percent, while the corresponding rise for full-time employees was just 48 percent.

The biggest earnings increases for CEOs were in the media, marketing and telecommunications sectors, followed by transport, leisure and financial services.

"FTSE 100 directors have seen their total earnings jump sharply in the last year, fueled by a rise in the value of share based awards. Bonus payments have also recovered strongly following a downturn last year," Steve Tatton, editor of the IDS report, said on Monday.

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"The pattern of pay growth highlights the complex make up of directors' remuneration. Salary rises may be modest but this can be more than made up for by the receipt of incentive payments. When such incentives pay out, they can pay out substantial sums, giving a significant boost to directors' earnings."

The report comes after the introduction of new reporting rules, which require companies to include a single pay figure for top executives in their annual reports. There are now also binding shareholder votes on boardroom remuneration designed to improve transparency.

"While the new rules seemingly signaled the beginning of a new era in remuneration disclosure and shareholder power, it still remains to be seen whether the reforms will lead to an improvement in boardroom pay transparency," Tatton remarked.