FTSE bosses just got a 16% pay rise while the rest of us choose between eating and heating

City of London FTSE High Pay Centre
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Think tank the High Pay Centre has found that the pay of Britain’s top bosses grew by 16% in 2022 – while the rest of us struggled with the basics.

High Pay Centre: damning research

The High Pay Centre researches bosses’ pay. On Tuesday 22 August, it released figures for FTSE (Financial Times Stock Exchange) company CEOs. These are the bosses of the biggest and most valuable companies that trade on the London stock exchange. For the financial year ending 2022, the High Pay Centre found:

  • The median FTSE 100 CEO pay went up to £3.91m – up £500,000 from 2021. This is the highest it’s been since 2017.
  • This was 118 times the median full-time UK wage – up from 108 times in 2021.
  • FTSE 350 firms paid £1.33bn to just 570 executives – averaging £2.33m each.
  • Women are still under-represented at CEO level, with only eight in FTSE 100 companies – down from nine in 2021.

The think tank also found that for FTSE 250 companies, median CEO pay was £1.77m in 2022, up by £50k from £1.72m in 2021. Looking at some specific examples, the High Pay Centre found that nearly all of the highest-paid CEOs were from companies that profit from death, war, the climate crisis, or – in the case of AstraZeneca – the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic:



Pay (£m)


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Pascal Soriot


BAE Systems

Charles Woodburn


CRH plc

Albert Manifold



Bernard Looney



Brian Cassin


Shell plc

Ben van Beurden


British American Tobacco

Jack Bowles


Anglo American plc

Mark Cutifani/ Ducan Wanblad


Endeavour Mining

Sebastien de Montessus


GSK plc

Emma Walmsley


The rest of us struggling while FTSE 100 bosses rake it in

All this comes against a backdrop of workers struggling amid the cost of living crisis. As the Canary previously reported, the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed that:

  • Unemployment was up.
  • Real-terms pay (adjusted for Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation) was down 0.6% – despite headline regular pay growth apparently being 7.8%.
  • The number of job vacancies has dropped.
  • People off work with long-term sickness has reached a record high.

Moreover, Black and Brown people are disproportionately hit by the dire UK labour market. Trades Union Congress (TUC) research found that they were much more likely to be in insecure work than white people.

Overall, director of the High Pay Centre Luke Hildyard said in a press release:

At a time when so many households are struggling with living costs, an economic model that prioritises a half a million pound pay rise for executives who are already multi millionaires is surely going wrong somewhere.

How major employers distribute the wealth that their workforce creates has a big impact on people’s living standards. We need to give workers more voice on company boards, strengthen trade union rights and enable low- and middle- income earners to get a fairer share in relation to those at the top.

Porsches versus poverty

The think tank is calling for the government to act. It wants:

  • Workers to have seats on company pay committees.
  • Trade unions to be given “guaranteed access” to workplaces to unionise staff.
  • Companies to be far more transparent about pay for the top and bottom earners in their organisations, so there can be “more informed pay negotiations at individual companies and a clearer debate about pay inequality more generally”.

The TUC echoed similar. General secretary Paul Nowak in a press release:

While millions of families have seen their budgets shredded by the cost of living crisis, City directors have enjoyed bumper pay rises.

This is why workers must be given seats on company boards to inject some much-needed common sense and restraint.

We need an economy that delivers better living standards for all – not just those at the top.

But under the Tories Britain has become a land of grotesque extremes. As households across the country have struggled to put food on the table, sales of Porsches have hit record levels.

Indeed, Porsche sold 18,554 cars in the UK and Ireland in 2022 – which that £500k FTSE 100 CEO payrise would go a long way towards – all while the rest of us chose between eating and heating. This shocking research shows that, under capitalism, nothing is changing. The rich continue to make themselves richer at the expense of the rest of us.

Featured image via David Iliff – Wikimedia, resized to 770×403 under license CC BY-SA 3.0

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