High Pay Hour 2023

By 05.01.23MediaAugust 30th, 2023No Comments

FTSE 100 CEOs’ earnings for 2023 will surpass the median UK worker’s full time annual salary today, just prior to 14:00 on Thursday 5 January, according to HPC calculations.

  • FTSE 100 bosses’ will have to work nine hours fewer to overtake UK median worker than they did in 2022
  • Top city lawyers will have to wait until next week to surpass the median worker’s annual pay, while leading bankers will have to wait until 20th January

 The median FTSE 100 CEO’s earnings for 2023 will surpass the median annual salary for a full-time worker in the UK by around 2pm on Thursday 5 January, after having worked around 30 hours, according to calculations by the High Pay Centre.  

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

The figures highlight how top pay has increased dramatically following the easing of the Covid-19 pandemic, after falling while lockdowns and other economic restrictions were in place. Last year, executive pay data suggested that CEOs would have to wait until the fourth working day of 2022 to overtake the median worker’s annual salary, while this year they will accomplish the feat in under three days.

Median FTSE 100 CEO pay currently stands at £3.41 million, 103 times the median full time worker’s pay of £33,000. This represents a 39% increase on median CEO pay levels as of January 2022, while the median worker’s pay has only increased by 6% over the same period. 

How other top earners compare

The High Pay Centre 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 £1.33m, will need to work until 11th January for their pay to overtake the annual pay of the median UK worker
  • A partner at a ‘magic circle’ law firm, average pay £1.95m, would need to work until 9th January
  • A partner at a ‘Big Four’ Accountancy firm, average pay £911k, 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 £820k, would need to work until 17th 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 23rd March

High Pay Centre Director, Luke Hildyard said:

In the worst economic circumstances that most people can remember, it is difficult to believe that a handful of top earners are still raking in such extraordinary amounts of money.

The UK economy really cannot afford for such a big share of the wealth that is created by all workers to be captured by such a tiny number of people at the top. To address declining living standards for the majority, we need measures to balance the distribution of incomes more evenly.