Charity the Equality Trust said the salary gap between bosses and their employees is fuelling a “damagingly high” level of inequality across the UK.
The medium annual pay of FTSE 100 CEOs in 2019 was £3.6 million – around £941 per hour of their 12-hour days – according to the High Pay Centre.
Assuming they start work at 8am, they had already earned a Staffordshire full-time worker’s median salary by 2pm on January 6 – the third working day of the year.
This means it would take an average Staffordshire employee 129 years to earn the annual salary of a top chief executive officer (CEO).
While in the Black Country, it would take an average Sandwell employee 130 years, 128 years in Wolverhampton, 126 years in Walsall and 125 years in Dudley to earn the annual salary of a top CEO.
The High Pay Centre warned it was still too early to take the impacts of the coronavirus on pay packets into account, but estimated CEOs would have to work just 33 hours this year to surpass the average UK salary of £31,461.
High Pay Centre director Luke Hildyard said: “Factors such as the increasing role played by the finance industry in the economy, the outsourcing of low-paid work and the decline of trade union membership have widened the gaps between those at the top and everybody else over recent decades.”
He added that these figures will raise concern over whether major companies are distributing pay fairly, and should prompt debate about the effects of inequality.
Dr Wanda Wyporska, executive director of the Equality Trust, said: “This huge gap between the pay packets of bosses and their employees is not just highly unfair, but contributes to the damagingly high level of inequality we see in the UK.
“Crucially we see the results in our everyday lives because in countries with high levels of inequality, we also see high levels of poor mental and physical health, violence, infant deaths, obesity and lower levels of social mobility and educational attainment.”
Trade body The Investment Association said: “Investors expect companies to treat their executive directors and workforce consistently when it comes to pay.”