Australian bosses have recorded wage growth.
Australian bosses have recorded wage growth.

One Aussie CEO's salary more than 737 Bundy workers

THE average wage in Bundaberg is $49,946, according to Payscale Australia.

It's a world away to the paypackets of CEOs at Australia's 100 biggest companies whose wages have swollen to their fattest since before the global financial crisis, a new study shows.

Domino's Pizza CEO Don Meij topped the list of the highest-paid CEOs for 2017, with a realised pay of $36.84 million after he exercised options to acquire shares worth $35.7 million.

That's $36,790,054 more than the average Bundy worker...or the equivalent of 737.6 people's wage.

After years of relative restraint, CEOs have enjoyed a surge in bonus payments that boosted their average reported pay to $5.5 million in 2017 - levels not seen since before the global financial crisis in 2007, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) study has found.

Using a different method to calculate "realised pay" - a figure that includes the value of share-based payments realised during the year - the average CEO took home $6.2 million, the ACSI report found.

ACSI chief executive Louise Davidson criticised soaring bonus payments that drove gains for big bosses last year - with average and median total bonuses paid to CEOs at the 100 top companies hitting their highest level since the data was first gathered in 2011.

"At a time when public trust in business is at a low ebb and wages growth is weak, board decisions to pay large bonuses just for hitting budget targets ... are especially tone-deaf," Ms Davidson said.

Base pay for CEOs has increased little, in line with moves in recent years to contain fixed payments, but ACSI has found all but six of the 80 CEOs eligible for a bonus in 2017 received one.

"The FY17 survey results illustrate that a top 100 CEO is more likely to lose their job than to receive no bonus for performance reasons," ACSI said.

Domino's Pizza CEO Don Meij topped ACSI's list of the highest-paid CEOs for 2017, with a realised pay of $36.84 million after he exercised options to acquire shares worth $35.7 million.

The survey also found there were too few female CEOs among the 200 biggest companies - nine in total - to analyse gender pay equaility.

ACSI said that among the 100 biggest companies, there were more CEOs called Andrew than there were women.

ACSI represents asset owners and investors that manage large parts of the funds in Australia's superannuation system and speaks on environmental, social and governance issues.



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