German exec pay catching up with UK

suitcase of money

The UK and the US may be famous for over-inflated CEO pay packages, but now it seems that the pay of top-level German managers is outflanking the Brits.

German CEO has, historically, been reserved compared to their British and American counterparts, with remuneration averaging around 55% of US levels ten years ago. UK executive pay followed the US as a close second.

However, a new study by the Vlerick Business School’s Executive Remuneration Research Centre suggests that Europe’s highest paid CEOs are now in Germany.

The report found that, as a (median) average, compensation for CEOs of German companies with assets over €5 billion now stands at €3,438,000 – narrowly beating the Brits, at €3,401,000. For companies with less than €5 billion in assets, though, the biggest payouts are still in the UK.

The shift may be less to do with German generosity, though, than tightening belts in the UK, with nearly half of all companies surveyed saying that they had not increased CEO pay, or had even reduced remuneration packages, in the past three years.

The research was based on a study of 512 companies in the UK, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, and covered not only basic salaries but also additional perks, such as retirement benefits and bonuses.