High Pay Hour 2024

HPC has estimated that FTSE 100 CEOs’ earnings for 2024 will surpass the median UK worker’s full time annual salary today, just before 1pm on Thursday 4 January.

According to our calculations, the median FTSE 100 CEO’s earnings for 2024 will surpass the median annual salary for a full-time worker in the UK by around 1pm on Thursday 4 January,

The calculations are based on our analysis of the most recent CEO pay disclosures published in companies’ annual reports, combined with government statistics showing pay levels across the UK economy.

As with last year, the executive pay data suggests that CEOs will have to wait until the third working day of 2024 to surpass the annual pay of the median worker. 

Median FTSE 100 CEO pay (excluding pension) currently stands at £3.81 million, 109 times the median full time worker’s pay of £34,963. This represents an 9.5% increase on median CEO pay levels as of March 2023, while the median worker’s pay has increased by 6%. 

The figures come against a backdrop of calls from leading figures in the city and big business for UK CEOs to be paid more. In December 2023 Legal and General Investment Management adjusted their executive pay guidelines to permit firms they invest in to offer more generous incentive payments, while earlier in the year the London Stock Exchange Chief Executive argued that low CEO pay levels create a risk to the UK economy.

How other top earners compare

We have used other publicly available data to estimate how long it would take other top earners to surpass the median UK worker’s full time earnings.

  • Other FTSE 350 executives (comprised of FTSE 100 executives other than the CEO, plus CEOs and other executives of FTSE 250 companies), median pay £1.32m, will need to work until 10th January for their pay to overtake the annual pay of the median UK worker
  • A partner at a ‘magic circle’ law firm, average pay £1.92m, would need to work until 8th January
  • A partner at a ‘Big Four’ Accountancy firm, average pay £871k, would need to work until 16th January
  • A top banker (so-called ‘material risk taker’) at one of the five FTSE 100 listed banks, average pay £807k, would need to work until 16th January
  • Everyone in the top 1% of full time UK earners, making at least £145k, will have overtaken the annual pay of the median full time worker by 29th March

Lobbyists for big business and the financial services industry spent much of 2023 arguing that top earners in Britain aren’t paid enough and that we are too concerned with gaps between the super-rich and everybody else. They think that economic success is created by a tiny number of people at the top and that everybody else has very little to contribute. 

The High Pay Centre believes that when politicians listen to these misguided views, it’s unsurprising that we end up with massive inequality, and stagnating living standards for the majority of the population.