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CEO pay up by half a million despite continuing cost of living crisis

FTSE 100 CEO pay increased by 16% between 2021 and 2022, according to research from thinktank the High Pay Centre.

On average, CEOs now earn £3.9 million per year, 118 times that of the median UK full-time worker. 

It is the highest level of median pay since 2017.

Meanwhile, in-work poverty has grown by 1.5 million since 2010, according to charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and 5.7 million low-income households had to cut down or skip meals in May 2022 due to the cost of living crisis.

More on the cost of living crisis:

High earners prioritised for cost of living pay rises

Cost of living crisis affecting women more than men

Theft by employees rises as cost of living bites

Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said employers need to address pay disparities so all workers are able to live dignified lives.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: "Everyone is feeling the pinch of the rising cost of living, but no one is struggling more than the 3.5 million low-paid workers, many of whom have had to go without food or fuel to get by

“As well as setting pay for those at the top of the pay scale, employers and remuneration committees should consider how all staff can be paid enough to live a dignified life.”

Pascal Soriot of AstraZeneca was the highest paid CEO of 2022 making £16.8 million, ahead of Charles Woodburn of BAE Systems who made £10.7 million.  

FTSE 350 firms overall spent over a billion on executive pay, with £1.3 billion awarded to 570 executives.

Paul Nowak, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said employee representatives should play a part in pay decisions.

He said: “While millions of families have seen their budgets shredded by the cost of living crisis, City directors have enjoyed bumper pay rises. As households across the country have struggled to put food on the table, sales of Porsches have hit record levels.

“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.”