Britain’s CEO pay climbs 11% in one year — as working wages flatline

In an effort to combat unequal corporate pay-outs, Britain’s government announced that from 2020 large listed companies in the U.K. would be required to publish and justify the pay gap between chief executives and staff.

The measure is also designed to put pressure on businesses to explain precisely how share price movements could impact future executive pay.

Nonetheless, despite government efforts to reduce runaway salaries for bosses of the U.K.’s largest companies, the pay gap between bosses and workers has widened over the past 12 months. The highest paid CEO in 2017 was Jeff Fairburn at the housebuilder Persimmon, who received more than £47 million in 2016 — around 22 times his 2016 pay.

The report showed Simon Peckham of engineering turnaround specialist Melrose Industries ranked second on the highest-paid list, banking £42.8 million in 2017 — equal to 43 times his 2016 pay.

Persimmon and Melrose Industries were not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, women were found to represent just 7 percent of FTSE 100 bosses and accounted for just 3.5 percent of their total pay. In fact, the report said a FTSE 100 chief executive was just as likely to be named a variation of David or Stephen as they were to be a female CEO.

“It is deeply unsettling that such a substantial pay gap remains between CEOs and ordinary workers,” Luke Hildyard, director of the High Pay Centre, said in a statement.

“Big CEO pay increases reflect poorly on corporate culture and accountability and suggest that bolder reforms to corporate governance may be needed. In this light, the weakening of plans to give workers representation on company boards could be misguided,” he added.

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