The Murky Politics of Boardroom Pay

During her leadership campaign for prime minister, Theresa May described the gap between boardroom and worker pay as “irrational, unhealthy and growing”. Her call for listed companies to publish the ratio between CEO and average worker pay reflected concerns across the political spectrum that the pay gap between rich and poor has become unsustainably wide. Between 1949 and 1979, the share of income going to the top 0.1% of earners actually fell from 3.5% to 1.3%. But since then the trend has reversed. Pay differentials between CEOs and their employees provide a vivid illustration of this. According to the High Pay Centre, the average FTSE 100 CEO was paid 47 times more than the average employee in 1998 – by 2015 this had risen to 129 times.

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