Although median pay for chief executives in Britain dropped by 13 percent between 2017 and 2018, it was still over 117 times that of the average British full-time worker, according to figures issued on Wednesday by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), a professional body for human resource and people development.
Data showed CEOs’ median pay in FTSE 100, UK’s largest listed 100 companies, decreased by 13 percent from 3.97 million pounds (about 4.82 million U.S. dollars) in 2017 to 3.46 million pounds in 2018.
However, the bosses’ salaries were still over 117 times that of the average full-time worker, which earned some 29,574 pounds a year.
Regarding the disparity in gender, there were only six female CEOs in the FTSE 100 in 2018, earning just 4.2 percent of the total pay.
Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, said that fairness is one of the biggest challenges facing society today.
The gulf between the pay at the top and the bottom ends of companies is slightly smaller but it is still unacceptably wide and undermines public trust in business, he said.
“We must question if CEOs are overly focused on financial measures and are being incentivized to keep share prices high rather than focusing on the long-term health of their business,” Cheese said.
Luke Hildyard, director of the High Pay Centre, an independent think tank focusing on pay for top earners, said: “A slight fall in the pay of FTSE 100 CEOs is welcome and reflects improvements to the governance of the UK’s biggest companies and a growing recognition of the need to address the rampant economic inequality in the UK.”
“At the same time, CEO pay awards and the share of total incomes going to the very richest in society remain very high compared to the level of 20 years ago,” Hildyard said.
He added that the public should have confidence that the biggest businesses are working for the good of the economy as a whole rather than the enrichment of a few people at the top. (1 pound = 1.21 U.S. dollars)