UK retail CEOs earn among highest multiples of employees’ wages

JD Sports Dunelm Ocado report
The FTSE 350 companies with the lowest pay levels at the 25th percentile point of their UK workforce include Dunelm and JD Sports
// Think-tank High Pay Centre and the Standard Life Foundation publish new report which highlights disparity in earnings between retail chiefs and workers
// Ocado paid its chief executive about 2600 times its average worker last year
// Tesco and JD Sport have the biggest gap between pay for their CEOs and the average worker

A new report has shown that UK retail chiefs earn among highest multiples of their workers’ wages.

Think-tank High Pay Centre and the Standard Life Foundation found that online grocer Ocado paid its chief executive about 2600 times its average worker last year.

Tesco and JD Sport were also found to have the biggest gap between pay for their chief executives and the average worker.

Overall, median pay among chief executives in the FTSE 350 was 53 times that of the median employee, ranging from a ratio of 140:1 in the retail trade to 35:1 in financial services, according to the report.

Ocado said last year’s pay ratio was affected by the maturing incentive scheme that resulted in chief executive Tim Steiner receiving a £58 million payout.

The research uses data from the 186 FTSE 350 companies covered by the pay ratio reporting requirements, which exclude closed-end investment funds and companies with fewer than 250 UK employees.

The FTSE 350 companies with the lowest pay levels at the 25th percentile point of their UK workforce include Dunelm and JD Sports.

Almost a fifth of companies pay workers in the lower quartile of wages less than £20,000, according to the report.

The median pay ratio of FTSE 100 CEOs to lower quartile employees is 109:1, but across the FTSE 350, the ratio sizes range from 2,820:1 to 13:1.

Tesco, which has a UK workforce of more than 300,000, said it “aims to reward responsibly and fairly”. The hourly rate at the company is £9.30, above the statutory national minimum wage for over-25s of £8.72.

Ocado’s basic hourly pay rates range from £9.20 to £12.65.

At JD Sports, which had the second-highest ratio of chief executive to median pay, executive chair Peter Cowgill was awarded a £6 million cash bonus.

Meanwhile, Dunelm said hourly-paid staff received above statutory minimum levels and a one-off £250 bonus “in recognition of their contribution throughout the Covid-19 crisis”.

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