UK CEOs earn 183 times more than their workers

Money At Work

The UK wage gap is growing, a report by Britain's income watchdog shows.

CEOs from the UK's top 100 listed firms last year earned 183 times more than their companies' average worker, up from 182 times average pay in 2013, according to the High Pay Centre.

Chief executives earned 160 times worker pay in 2010.

"Pay packages of this size go far beyond what is sensible or necessary to reward and inspire top executives," High Pay Centre Director Deborah Hargreaves said in a press statement.

UK-listed companies have been legally required to publish their lead executive's pay since 2013.

On average, FTSE 100 CEOs earned £ 4.96 million ($7.6 million) in 2014—marginally higher than the £4.9 million recorded a year prior and far greater than the U.K.'s national median full-time salary of £27,195, a figure based on findings by the U.K.'s Office for National Statistics.

Sir Martin Sorrell, the head of advertising firm WPP, held the spot as Britain's highest paid CEO for the second year running, earning £42.9 million ($67 million) up from £29.8 million in 2013.

Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden came in as a distant second, whose total pay hovered near £19.5 million.

"High pay is only ever justified by exceptional performance and there must always be a clear link between the two," a spokesperson from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), a business lobby group, said in an emailed statement.

"In FTSE 100 firms and beyond, it's important that boards and shareholders hold the highest earners to account. Shareholders now have a vote on companies' pay policies and it is important that this is used effectively," the CBI added.

Approximately 22 percent of WPP shareholders refused to back the Sorrell's pay package at the annual general meeting in June. That's down from the 30 percent who voted against his pay at last year's meeting and 60 percent in 2012.

However, the average vote against executive remuneration policies across the FTSE 100 was only 6.4 percent last year. WPP press officers did not provide a statement on this year's report and were not able to offer an interview by press time.

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