Toggle high contrast
Issue date
  • Median CEO pay also up on pre pandemic levels – increase of 5% from £3.25m median CEO pay in 2019. 
  • Median CEO pay 109 times that of the median UK full-time worker, compared to 79 times in 2020 and 107 times in 2019.
  • FTSE 100 firms spent £720.21m on the pay of 224 executives

New research published today by the High Pay Centre think tank and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has found that the pay of the CEOs of Britain’s biggest companies surged by 39% in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Median pay for a FTSE 100 CEO increased from £2.46m in 2020 to £3.41m in 2021. CEO pay has also surpassed the £3.25m median recorded in 2019. 

The research shows that the median FTSE 100 CEO is now paid 109 times the median UK full-time worker, up from 79 times in 2020 and 107 times in 2019.

Other key findings include:

  • FTSE 100 firms spent nearly three-quarters of a billion on executive pay, with £720.21m awarded to 224 executives
  • FTSE 250 CEOs saw a similar 38% pay increase, with median pay rising from £1.25m in 2020 to £1.72m in 2021.
  • FTSE 100 CEOs annual bonuses leapt to £1.4m compared to £828k in 2020 and £1.1m in 2019. 90% of CEOs received a bonus.

The High Pay Centre and the TUC are calling for reforms to regulations affecting corporate pay-setting process including:

  • Requirements for companies to include a minimum of two elected workforce representatives on the remuneration committees that set pay
  • Guaranteed trade union access to workplaces to tell workers about the benefits of union membership and collective bargaining 
  • Requirements for companies to provide more detailed disclosure of pay for top earners beyond the executives, and low earners including indirectly employed workers, enabling more informed pay negotiations at individual companies and a clearer debate about pay inequality more generally

High Pay Centre Director, Luke Hildyard said:

“Very high executive pay is a big part of the cost of living problem. If large employers are paying millions more to already very wealthy executives, that makes it harder to fund pay increases for low and middle-income workers.

“If incomes in the UK were shared more evenly, that would significantly raise the living standards of the people hit hardest by the current economic crisis, while those at the top probably wouldn’t notice much difference to their lifestyles.”

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Workers deserve a fair share of the wealth they create. But right now, CEO pay is soaring while working people experience the biggest real wage falls in twenty years.

“These unbalanced pay policies have seen the gap widen between workers and bosses this year, adding to the cost of living crisis.

“We need stronger rules to rein in executive pay. This should include worker representatives on the committees that set top pay, and elected seats for workers on company boards. This approach is already commonplace in many countries and works very well. The government should give UK workers this opportunity too.”

Editors note
  • The figures are based on CEO pay disclosures made in annual reports, for companies’ financial years ending in 2021. CEO pay levels are published retrospectively, so the data for 2021 is the most recent available for a full year, however some companies with a non-calendar financial year have published pay levels for 2022. The research is based on the FTSE 100 and 250 as constituted in Q2 2022. 
  • Figures are for total pay in the CEO role in the year, encompassing pay to more than one post-holder for their time in-post in cases where there was a change of CEO during the year.
  • The 2020 figures differ slightly from the annual CEO pay survey published by the High Pay Centre last year (£2.46m as opposed to the £2.69m recorded last year). This is because companies re-state the previous year’s pay award in their annual report, sometimes making small adjustments
  • The ten FTSE 100 companies with the highest CEO pay were as follows:




Amount (£m)


Precious metals and mining

Sebastien De Montessus


Astra Zeneca

Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology

Pascal Soriot



Construction and Materials

Albert Manifold


Anglo American

Industrial Metals and Mining

Mark Cutifani




Erik Engstrom


Lloyds Banking Group


Antonio Horta Osorio, William Chalmers, Charlie Nunn (combined pay for time in post as CEO)



Investment Banking and Brokerage Services

Peter Harrison



Travel and Leisure

Peter Jackson



Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology

Emma Walmsley



Household Goods and Home Construction

Rob Perrins


(Unusually, the highest paid FTSE 250 CEO Frederic Vecchioli of Safestore, paid £17.06m, was paid more than any FTSE 100 CEO).

  • Where pay was disclosed in a currency other than pound sterling, we have calculated the value in pounds based on the exchange rate cited by HMRC at the closest date to the company’s year-end.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication

To access the admin area, you will need to setup two-factor authentication (TFA).

Setup now