The earnings of FTSE 100 directors has increased by an average of 49 percent in the last financial year, according to a report from Income Data Services (IDS).
It comes as the Financial Times revealed that the UK government paid staff £141 million in bonuses in the year ended April 2011, up £5 million from £136 million in 2010. Prime Minister David Cameron has previously pledged to crackdown on “crazy” civil service bonus payments.
The IDS report showed that the average total earnings of a FTSE 100 director is now around £2.7 million a year. Total earnings include fixed pay, salary and benefits, bonuses, cashed-in shares and the value of long-term incentive plans.
Although base salaries grew only 3.2 percent on average, the significant rise in earnings can be attributed to a rise in average bonus payments – up 23 percent from £737,624 in 2010 to £906,044 this year.
ICT companies that feature in the FTSE 100 include ARM, Sage, Vodafone and BT. IDS declined to disclose the pay details relating to these organisations.
“Britain’s economy may be struggling to return to pre-recession levels of output, but the same cannot be said of FTSE 100 directors’ remuneration,” said Steve Tatton, editor of the IDS report.
“The generous remuneration packages that FTSE 100 directors now receive indicates a marked improvement in boardroom fortunes.”
CEOs of FTSE 100 companies also saw similar increases in their earnings. Their total pay rose 43 percent over the last year.
However, Tatton warned companies to expect closer scrutiny of pay in the future.
“Remuneration committees will have to make sure that they are able to provide full and thorough justifications for the bonuses awarded.
“This means that they will have to be much more transparent about how total benefits packages are structure and how performance is measured,” he said.
The highest earner in FTSE 100 was the chief executive of mining company Xstrata, Mick Davis (£18.4 million), followed by the lead executive at consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser (£17.9 million) and the top executive at inter-dealer money broker ICAP (£13.4 million).
Unite union branded the earnings revelations as a “display of boardroom greed” and called for more power for shareholders to limit “excessive” boardroom pay.
“This is an astonishing display of boardroom greed. It is exactly why people have been occupying St Paul’s to protest against the behaviour of the City elite and a government which is turning a blind eye to these abuses.
“Institutional shareholders need to exercise much greater scrutiny and control of directors’ pay and bonuses. The government should be strongly considering giving shareholders greater legal power to question and curb these excessive remuneration packages,” said Len McCluskey, Unite’s general secretary.