As top pay soars, the 99% are left behind

The news about top bosses’ pay this morning is just the latest in a series of reports highlighting huge disparities between the top 1% and the remaining 99%.

The extraordinary news about top bosses’ pay this morning is just the latest in a series of reports this week highlighting huge disparities in the pay prospects of the top one per cent and the remaining 99%.

A new report (pdf) published today by the Resolution Foundation finds that in most OECD countries, including Britain, median pay has not kept up with GDP growth over the last decade. In the UK, after years where median pay kept track with growth in economic output (GDP), it has increased at less than half the rate of GDP in the last decade.

From 2000 to 2007, median wages rose by just 0.43 the ratio of GDP – below that in Japan or Scandinavia but better than in the US, Canada, Australia or Germany. The report shows the remaining proceeds of growth went to profits, bonuses, and top pay.

Just yesterday, Incomes Data Services showed that within the UK public sector workers are being left behind. With inflation now hitting 5.2% private sector pay rises have averaged 2.6% in the last year while public sector pay has stayed flat.

But life is OK at the top. As covered on this blog earlier today, the same organisation has today published new evidence – which topped the bulletins of the Today programme – showing pay of CEOs at Britain’s top FTSE 100 companies has increased almost 50 per cent in the last year to nearly £2.7 million.

Earlier this week, the Congressional Budget Office in the US, an independent body which provides research for members of Congress on budgetary matters, made a similar discovery.

It found pay for the top 1% had growth 279% from 1979 to 2007 compared to 65% for the next 19%, just 40% for the next 60% and a pitiful 18% for the bottom 20%.

Concerns about the inequity of pay deals are not just the concern of the protesters now occupying sites in 348 cities around the world.

Earlier this week, Bank of England executive director for financial stability, Andrew Haldane, suggested the pay of bank executives should be linked to returns on assets such as bank loans rather than on short term rises in equity. And earlier this year, polling by YouGov for the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) found two-thirds of Britons would support government action to reduce the gap between high and low earners.

With the chancellor’s autumn statement due on November 29th, the time to act is now.

See also:

All in it together, eh Gideon? FTSE fat cats see pay rocket 50 per centShamik Das, October 28th 2011

Top five reasons why you can’t protest (according to the right)Alex Hern, October 26th 2011

Outrage at 733 per cent rise in energy companies’ profitsShamik Das, October 14th 2011

The “occupy” protests come to the City this SaturdayShamik Das, October 12th 2011

Warnings over Scottish fuel poverty target as energy chief enjoys £2m bonusEd Jacobs, July 25th 2011

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