Pay for CEOs at Australia’s biggest companies has flatlined, a consequence of shareholder activism against the way senior executives are rewarded.
According to the latest survey by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, the average realised pay for ASX100 CEOs in 2016 — cash payments plus the value of vested equity — was $5.7 million, or almost 93 times the average pay packet of $61,308 a year. That’s less than four days work to earn the average Australian wage.
Without the bonuses, median ASX100 fixed pay for chief executives was $1.79 million, up 4.4% on last year but well below prior-year peaks. In 2012 it was $1.95 million.
Wage growth in Australia is suppressed at the moment. Annual growth in the Wage Price Index stood at just 2.03% in the June quarter, the weakest level on record going back to when the Australian Bureau of Statistics first began the survey in 1997.
Further down the company pecking order on the ASX, CEO pay is falling faster.
Among the ASX101-200, median fixed pay fell for the second consecutive year, with the median declining 2.2% to $864,000.
This year’s survey includes data about 83 ASX100 CEOs and 77 CEOs from the ASX101-200.
Louise Davidson, the CEO of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, says chief executive pay has largely been held in check by Australian boards since an increase in shareholder scrutiny.
Here are the 10 highest paid CEOs, according to the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors: