Chief executive pay in Australian has hit “record highs”, according to research which found that pay for CEOs in the ASX 100 rose by 12.4% in 2017.
Median pay for an ASX 100 chief executive is now AUD$4.36m (€2.76m). The claim of record figures was underpinned by a 22.1% hike in median pay to AUD$1.76m for CEOs in the ASX 101-200.
Louise Davidson, chief executive of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ASCI), the researchers behind the numbers, said they were bad news.
“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 rather than exceptional performance, are especially tone-deaf.
“This may be a sign that boards have lost sight of the link between a company’s social licence and the expectations of communities and investors.”
Further figures revealed that bonus payments were up by 18% and that ASX 100 CEOs are “more likely to lose their job than their bonus”.
The ASCI said the bonuses for ASX 100 were the highest recorded since their surveys began. Davidson said Australia may need to introduce measures like the UK.
“It’s a sad state of affairs when bonuses have become such a sure thing. If this issue is not addressed voluntarily, we may need legislative intervention to give shareholders a greater say—such as we have seen in other markets, like the United Kingdom.”
She said the ASCI recommends that members vote against upcoming remuneration reports if they fail to be “transparent” and “reflective of performance”.