The state of pay: one year on from the High Pay Commission

The state of pay: one year on from the High Pay Commission
Document type
Corporate author(s)
High Pay Centre
High Pay Centre
Date of publication
3 December 2012
Trends: economic, social and technology trends affecting business, Management & leadership: including strategy, public sector management, operations and production
Business and management
Material type

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In recent years, directors of some of Britain’s top businesses have been condemned by shareholders, politicians, and the public for their bonuses and increased pay. Especially as many of these companies have failed to increase profits.

In 2011 the High Pay Commission called for companies to simplify their top pay packages. In this report we ask, what has changed? What developments have been seen over the past year and what still needs to be achieved?

This report finds that, despite promises of action, little has changed. And though some shareholders have sought to rein in executive excesses, they have been unable to enforce a change of culture on top pay. In 2012 business leaders and politicians from all parties have begun to talk about the need for action on executive pay and growing pay inequality more generally. These discussions have resulted in a government policy response spearheaded by the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, and an outbreak of investor activism in the so called ‘shareholder spring’. This report looks at the reality behind this rhetoric. Is this all just hot air or have we really reached a tipping point in executive pay? Is real reform taking place or is it all empty promises?

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