Australian CEOs Earn 55 Times More Than Workers, Reveals Acsi Report

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According to a new report by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (Acsi), the chief executives at Australia’s most prominent companies earn 55 times more than the average worker.

The report revealed that CEO pay at the top 100 listed firms averaged $5.2 million in the 2022 financial year. Although executive pay fell compared to the previous year, which saw unusually high rates, the disparity between CEO and worker remuneration reverted to longer-term trends.

“It is good to see more restraint on executive pay in Australian companies over the past year, but there is still an ‘everyone wins a prize’ attitude in some parts of the market,” Acsi’s executive manager, Ed John, said.

Acsi, representing funds with over $1 trillion under management, advises its members on voting at shareholder meetings, including remuneration reports. If shareholders reject a company’s executive remuneration package for two consecutive years, they can vote out the board.

Macquarie Group’s CEO, Shemara Wikramanayake, became the first woman to top the earnings table for two consecutive years, earning $16 million in 2021 and $23.7 million in 2022

The report also highlighted Greg Goodman, the CEO, and co-founder of logistics giant Goodman Group, as the highest-paid Australia-based CEO when considering “realised pay,” including company equity. Goodman earned $44.3 million in 2022.

Shareholders have expressed discontent with pay arrangements at Goodman Group, voting down the remuneration report at the last two annual general meetings. However, attempts to replace the board have yet to succeed thus far.

“As ever, investors want to ensure these ‘bonuses’ aren’t just fixed pay by another name – CEOs shouldn’t be over-rewarded for just doing the job they’re already well paid for,” Acsi said.

The ongoing disparity in CEO pay compared to average workers continues to be debated, highlighting the need for more transparent and equitable remuneration practices within Australian companies.

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