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'Fat Cat' Friday: UK bosses earn average worker's salary in just three days

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By Alice Tidey
'Fat Cat' Friday: UK bosses earn average worker's salary in just three days
Copyright  Pxhere

The year has barely started but the UK's top executives have already made more money than the typical British worker will earn in the next twelve months, figures released on Friday have revealed.

According to the High Pay Centre and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the CEOs of Britain's leading 100 companies make an average of £1,020 per hour (€1,133). Their mean yearly pay package hovers just around £3.9 million (€4.3 million).

By their calculations, the average FTSE 100 CEO will have matched the typical worker's annual salary of just over £29,500 (€32,770) by early afternoon on January 4. The two bodies have dubbed the date "Fat Cat" Friday.

'Corporate governance failure'

The report highlights that pay levels have skyrocketed from around 60 times the average UK full-time salary at the turn of the millennium to about 133 times today.

It also argues that companies' performances do not justify the pay rise.

"Excessive executive pay represents a massive corporate governance failure and is a barrier to a fairer economy," Luke Hildyard, director of the High Pay Centre, said.

"Corporate boards are too willing to spend millions on top executives without any real justification, while the wider workforce is treated as a cost to be minimised," he added.

Charles Cotton, Senior Advisor at the CIPD, said the disparity can hurt companies' reputations.

"Overly generous executive pay awards are one of the major factors responsible for low levels of trust in business — particularly when pay has been stagnating across the wider workforce — and therefore represent a grave threat to businesses' ability to thrive in the long term," he explained.

'Cod statistics'?

The Trade Union Congress, a federation of British trade unions, expressed outrage at the findings and called for "radical change."

But Matthew Lesh, Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute, a free-market think tank, described the figures as "cod statistics."

"In a global market for CEOs, British firms must be able to compete for top CEOs who provide immense value to companies.

"Limits on executive pay would drive top British talent and companies offshore, ultimately leading to fewer jobs and lower pay for workers," he added.

WATCH: Euronews business editor, Sasha Vakulina breaks down some of those figures in the player above: