The City of London, stuffed with top bankers pocketing vast pay packets (Picture: Michael Gwyther-Jones on Flickr)

Underlining the class divide, bosses will have earned more pay than the average British worker makes in a year by Thursday afternoon.

By 1pm on Thursday, the average chief executive of the top 100 companies listed on the London stock exchange will have earned the average full-time worker’s annual wage, the High Pay Centre found in its analysis.

It is one hour earlier than when bosses passed the average worker’s annual pay in 2023.

The statistics underline the need for pay fights now to win above-inflation deals instead of hoping that a Labour government will deliver the goods.

The think tank said it used the most recent pay disclosures in firms’ annual reports for the analysis, combined with government statistics showing pay levels across Britain.

The average pay of bosses a the top 100 firms, excluding the payments to fund their pensions, stood at £3.81 million in the financial year ending in March 2023, according to the High Pay Centre.

It amounts to approximately £1,170 per hour, assuming the bosses work 12.5 hours a day.

The yearly amount is 109 times the median full-time worker’s wage of £34,893, according to latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

The TUC union federation said the analysis shows “obscene levels of pay inequality”.

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said, “While working people have been forced to suffer the longest wage squeeze in modern history, City bosses have been allowed to pocket bumper rises and bankers have been given unlimited bonuses.”

It comes after a cap on bonus payments for bankers was scrapped last year.

Nowak continued, “It doesn’t have to be this way. We need an economy that rewards work—not just wealth.

“That means putting workers on company boards to inject some much-needed common sense into boardrooms. It means taxing wealth fairly.

“And it means a government that is willing to work with unions and employers to drive up living standards for all.”

The idea that a few more union reps on boards of directors will make a serious difference is an illusion. Far too often such people are captured by the “corporate culture”. And if they aren’t, bosses then sideline or ignore them.

Meanwhile, other FTSE 350 executives, including senior executives and bosses outside the biggest 100 firms, will have to wait a week, until 10 January, to overtake the average worker’s pay.

Everyone in the top 1 percent, taking at least £145,000 a year, will have overtaken the annual pay of the average full-time worker by 29 March, the High Pay Centre said.

The High Pay Centre’s director, Luke Hildyard, said, “Lobbyists for big business and the financial services industry spent much of 2023 arguing that top earners in Britain aren’t paid enough and that we are too concerned with gaps between the super-rich and everybody else.

“They think that economic success is created by a tiny number of people at the top and that everybody else has very little to contribute.

“When politicians listen to these misguided views, it’s unsurprising that we end up with massive inequality, and stagnating living standards for the majority of the population.”

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