Executive pay deals continue to grow, outstrip shop floor wage rises

The bosses of 117 trendsetting Dutch companies and semi-public organisations saw their earnings rise by an average of 7.2% last year, while shop floor wages rose just 2.1%, according to research by the Volkskrant.

The average chief executive income is now some €1.8m a year, largely due to rising share prices and their impact on share deals, the paper said.

Top earner last year was Shell’s Ben van Beurden, who earned €20m in salary, bonuses, shares, pension and other benefits. The package includes a €15m share bonus as a reward for his ‘outstanding performance over the past three years’.

Nancy McKinstry from Wolters Kluwer was second on the list with €13.7m, followed by Booking.com’s Gillian Tans on €12.7m. Unilever’s chief executive Paul Polman earned €11.7m and Heineken’s Jean-Francois van Boxmeer €9m.

The wage gap between chief executive and average worker was biggest at Unilever, where Polman’s gross income was 283 times that of the average member of staff.

Multinational executive pay rose 9.7% to an average of €2m, the Volkskrant said. At state-owned companies, salaries fell by an average of 12% to €418,000 as the government continues to pressure public sector executive pay deals.

Last month prime minister Mark Rutte said the government may reconsider cutting corporation tax if big companies did not start putting up wages significantly.

‘The only thing which is going up is the salaries of senior staff, not people covered by collective labour agreements (cao),’ Rutte said. ‘They are not going up enough, and I do not consider that to be acceptable.’

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