Research by shows that the average CEO’s annual salary is £5.2 million compared to the average worker’s annual salary of £32,489 globally. The highest hierarchical pay gap exists in United States, where CEOs earn 354 times the average employee's salary.

This is followed by CEOs in Switzerland, Germany, and Spain taking home salaries that are worth 148 times, 147 times, and 127 times respectively compared to the average worker salaries in these countries.

Closer home, average CEO salaries in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong are pegged at 74 times, 148 times, and 102 times the average salaries of workers respectively, as showed in the table below:


Poland, Austria and Denmark have been highlighted as the countries with the lowest ratio of CEO:employee divide, pegged at 28 times, 36 times, and 48 times, respectively.

Globally, the largest sectoral disparity was in the media sector, where CEOs earn around £17.8 million compared to an employee's salary of £31,197 (or a ratio of 571:1).

The other sectors with a large pay gap were construction (272 to 1), personal goods (250 to 1), and general retailing, as well as travel & leisure (187 to 1 in each sector).


Breaking down some of the other data within the report, here are the highlights:

  • The average American CEO earns around £12.7 million compared to the American employees earning around £35,904.
  • The United Kingdom’s average salary is £25,929, whilst the British CEO’s average salary is around £2.2 million. Eight of the countries in the top ten with the highest paid CEOs were European.
  • With a pay gap of 571:1, it only takes 0.6 days for an entertainment industry CEO to earn an employees entire salary.
  • Interestingly, technology CEOs had the smallest disparity between their wages with a ratio of 52:1, despite growing at a faster rate than several of the world’s economies. On average, a tech CEO earns around £2.3 million, taking just a week to earn an employees entire salary of £42,916.
  • All CEOs earn the salaries of employees in less than a week – In all sectors studied, CEOs earn the average employees yearly wage in 0.6 to 7 days.
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