Top CEO’s take home more than 100 times the salary of the average nurse, data has revealed, prompting questions about the value that society places on nursing.
The figure is according to the High Pay Centre, a thinktank that campaigns for fair pay, which analysed the gap in pay between FTSE 100 chief executives and other workers.
Unite union’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, argued ‘something is fundamentally wrong with British society’ if a banker or CEO can earn 100 times more than a nurse.
She continued: ‘Is it the nurse in an intensive care unit saving the lives of those struck by Covid, or an elite investment banker making millions, who contributes most to society? Which of them stood up for all of us during the pandemic?’
The High Pay Centre found the median FTSE 100 CEO was paid £2.69m in 2020, 86 times the median full-time worker in the UK. This means the median FTSE 100 CEO’s earnings for 2022 will surpass the median annual wage for a full-time worker in the UK by around 9am on 7 January.
In contrast, a newly qualified nurse on an Agenda for Change contract starts at £25,655, while a nurse in the highest pay band at the most senior level of management can earn up to £108,075.
Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the TUC, said: ‘There are millions of hardworking people in Britain – from carers, to delivery drivers, to shop floor staff – who give more than they get back, but greedy executives are taking home millions while ordinary workers face yet another year of pay squeezes.’
This comes after RCN members in England and Wales indicated they are prepared to take industrial action over pay. An overwhelming majority of members had said the 3% pay award for 2021/22 in England and Wales was ‘unacceptable’ in September.
In an equivalent ballot in Scotland, most RCN members said they would be prepared to take industrial action of their 4% pay rise.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland announced that NHS staff on Agenda for Change contracts will receive the 3% pay rise recommended by the NHS Pay Review Body, following months of delays.