Just six FTSE 100 chief executives are women and they earn 54 per cent of the amount paid to their male counterparts, highlighting the yawning gap in pay at the highest levels of UK companies.
The six female bosses, including ITV’s Dame Carolyn McCall and GSK’s Emma Walmsley, collected an average of £3.2m last year compared to £5.9m for the 94 men.
“Even women who have reached the highest echelons face a gender pay gap and are paid less than men,” said Dr Wanda Wyporska, executive director of The Equality Trust.
“The cosy club mentality of top companies continues, dominated largely by white males.”
The figures compiled by The Equality Trust are published on Fat Cat Friday, the day on which chief executives of the UK’s largest companies have already earned the average worker’s wage for the entire year (£29,574).
After an 11 per cent average annual pay rise FTSE 100 chief executives now take just 29 working hours to earn the average British worker’s salary, according to the High Pay Centre think tank and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
Dr Wyporska added: “Working people find that they cannot earn enough to feed their families without being forced to visit food banks. Many are experiencing very real hardship as the flawed system of universal credit is rolled out. Meanwhile, it is a national scandal that FTSE CEO fat cats have creamed off even more pay this year.
“We can all see that this rampant inequality is damaging UK society. A society that values its teachers, care workers and nurses at less than 1 per cent of a FTSE CEO is beyond broken.”
Extreme inequality has been found to lead to higher higher levels of mental and physical ill health, obesity, drug and alcohol addiction and lower levels of trust and educational attainment.
Peter Cheese, the chief executive of the CIPD, suggested that soaring executive pay also contributes to the current political turmoil.
“Excessive pay packages awarded by remuneration committees represent a significant failure in corporate governance and perpetuate the idea of a ‘superstar’ business leader when business is a collective endeavour and reward should be shared more fairly. This imbalance does nothing to help heal the many social and economic divides facing the country,” he said.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies