Mythbuster: Are huge executive pay packages really vital to UK competitiveness?
As part of the New Economics Foundation's 'mythbuster' series, Luke Hildyard debunks the myths used to justify excessive executive pay
We’re encouraged to believe that company executives are talented wealth creators, worthy of extreme pay packages which supposedly drive them to work hard to the benefit of society.
As part of the New Economics Foundation's mythbuster series, Luke Hildyard analyses the arguments put forward to justify the shocking growth in executive pay packages over the past thirty years, finding that there is little evidence to support them:
- the risk of executives moving overseas is greatly exaggerated - less than 1% of the world's biggest companies have lured the CEO of an overseas rival with an increased pay package
- there is little evidence to support the idea that there is a finite pool of irreplaceable company leaders - internally-promoted executives, nurtured by strong personal development programmes, tend to perform better than supposed superstars recruited from external competitors
- For all the talk of 'performance related pay' the rapid growth in executive pay packages - driven by huge increases in bonuses and incentive plans - has brought about little improvement in company performance
The fact that these myths have been allowed to take hold has greatly exacerbated levels of socially-divisive inequality in the UK, while the increased share of the national income captured by the richest 0.1% diverts wealth from low and middle-income households.
Since 1 January 2020 the average FTSE 100 CEO has earned:
Income inequality in the UK
Wealth inequality in the UK
- COVID19 and corporate resilience
The pandemic is highlighting the deep flaws in the UK’s corporate governance system. Will this prompt listed companies to rethink their priorities? - A blog by Rachel Kay, a researcher at the High Pay Centre
- Executive Compensation: Covid-19—A “New Normal” Or Back To The “Old Normal” by 2022?
A guest blog from Iain Stark, international HR leader and reward expert, on the future of executive pay post COVID19.
- Re-thinking reward: interim High Pay Centre analysis of new pay ratio reports
Our analysis of the first 'pay ratio' reports finds some limitations to the disclosures, but also identifies the potential to raise pay for low earners through redistribution from those at the top