Aussie boss making $459,000 a week
THE country's top-earning CEO pocketed a staggering $23,876,351 last year while everyday Aussies battle stagnating wage growth and skyrocketing cost of living pressures.
According to a new analysis of CEO pay released today by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI), Qantas boss Alan Joyce took out the number one spot.
The Irish-born chief executive's realised pay - in other words, the money he truly received during the fiscal year - was just shy of $24 million, which is more than 270 times the national average.
Macquarie Group CEO Nicholas Moore came second with a $23.86 million pay packet, while Michael Clarke from Treasury Wine Estates made $19,024,334.
Mr Joyce's eye-watering pay came the same year Qantas made a record profit of $1.6 billion.
According to the report, the median pay enjoyed by ASX 100 CEOs was $4.5 million - a far cry from the country's average full-time wage, which the Australian Bureau of Statistics places at $85,010.
ACSI also found only one eligible ASX 100 CEO - Domino's Pizza chief executive Don Meij - did not receive an FY18 bonus compared with six in FY17.
The median ASX 100 CEO received 70 per cent of their maximum bonus entitlement, while only 7 per cent received less than 30 per cent of maximum.
The median bonus was $1.61 million, the second highest figure in the survey's 18-year history, while 10 CEOs took home more than $10m in FY18.
Those figures prompted ACSI CEO Louise Davidson to slam the country's "culture of entitlement" among CEOs.
"The way bonuses are being handed out suggests there is a culture of entitlement whereby supposedly 'at-risk' pay is not very risky at all," she said, according to a release.
"These payments occurred in a year when the royal commission was in full swing, revealing evidence that executives were not being held accountable for poor conduct, and in the wake of soaring 'first strike' votes against remuneration reports.
"Clearly, corporate Australia is not getting the message that bonus payments should be variable and awarded for stretch performance, rather than being fixed pay under another name. This is a failure of both discipline and leadership."
Today's CEO pay revelations caused a stir on social media, with members of the public taking to Twitter to share their outrage.
"CEO pay now at obscene levels, while most workers experience record low wage growth and #wagetheft is rampant," one Twitter user posted, while another wrote: "It's high time that the bonuses were capped and these thieves were taxed at a super tax rate of 85 cents in the dollar …"
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) secretary Sally McManus also weighed in, tweeting: "Does anyone honestly think one person deserves $24mil/year when staff earn a fraction of this?"
Last year, outrageous CEO pay made headlines across the country, prompting fed-up Aussies around the country to take to the streets in October in protest.
The nationwide protests were organised by the ACTU as part of its Change the Rules campaign, which aims to draw attention to "exorbitant CEO pay" and company profits compared with the "very low or non-existent" pay rises experienced by many Australians.
At the time, an independent survey commissioned by the ACTU found 80 per cent of workers had not had a pay rise that kept up with the cost of living in the last 12 months, with nearly half of us receiving no pay rise at all.
However, Mr Joyce's massive salary pales in comparison to last year's top earner - Mr Meij - who took home a massive $36.84 million in the 2017 financial year, according to ACSI.
That news prompted then-PM Malcolm Turnbull to take a swipe at bloated executive pay packets, telling 3AW's Neil Mitchell "the pay rates of people working for a lot of big (publicly) listed companies is extraordinarily high."