Five days in, chief execs at UK's biggest firms have earned as much as typical worker will in 2023

Chief executives of the UK's biggest companies have already earned as much as the average worker will during the whole of 2023, research has found.

By 2pm on Thursday, bosses of FTSE 100 companies will have banked an average of £33,000 since New Year's Day, according to data from the High Pay Centre.

That amount is the same as the median salary for a UK worker during 2022, based on analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics and the financial reports of publicly listed companies.

The ratio has taken on extra significance given the current cost of living crisis.

During 2021, chief executive pay rose by 39%, the High Pay Centre found previously.

Average workers' salaries have increased by a much smaller amount.

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"In the worst economic circumstances that most people can remember, it is difficult to believe that a handful of top earners are still raking in such extraordinary amounts of money," High Pay Centre director Luke Hildyard said.

"The UK economy really cannot afford for such a big share of the wealth that is created by all workers to be captured by such a tiny number of people at the top."

The new general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, Paul Nowak, said workers should have "seats on executive pay committees to bring some common sense to top pay".

He added: "Everyone deserves a fair day's pay for a fair day's work. But while working people are told not to ask for more, top pay is soaring.

"We need government action to bring back some fairness on pay."

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Gary Smith, general secretary of the GMB union, said: "A hard-up 999 call handler would have to work for 150 years to earn what a CEO boss trousers in just 12 months. It's an utter disgrace."