THE MT GLOBAL SALARY SURVEY: Who 's worth what? - Since our last MT Global Salary Survey, the downturn has hit salaries, but Britain and the US still lead the CEO pay league. In India, fat cattery is taboo. In Spain, workers are poorer but happier Andrew Saunders takes in the big picture.

by Andrew Saunders
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Since our last MT Global Salary Survey, the downturn has hit salaries, but Britain and the US still lead the CEO pay league. In India, fat cattery is taboo. In Spain, workers are poorer but happier Andrew Saunders takes in the big picture.

This is the third time we have produced the Global Salary Survey, MT's definitive round-up of who gets how much for doing what, where, and whether they would be better off doing it somewhere else. We make absolutely no apologies for returning once again to the perennially hot topic of pay. There can be few subjects closer to the hearts, minds and wallets of toilers across the world than money, and for most of us, boosting the bottom line of Me plc is never far from our thoughts.

A lot has happened since the survey last graced these pages. Back then, in August 2001, the World Trade Center was still standing and bookies would have given you good odds on Saddam Hussein remaining in power for the foreseeable future. Enron's dollars 70 billion house of cards was barely teetering, its auditor Andersen was still one of the most respected names in accountancy and only his friends knew that yet-to-be disgraced Tyco boss Dennis Kozlowski had blown dollars 6,000 of company money on a swanky shower curtain for his Manhattan apartment.

But not everything has changed. Two years ago, America was the place to be for bosses wanting big bucks, and despite the ravages of war and the economic downturn, it still is. This year, our survey shows American CEO salaries breaking the pounds 1 million mark for the first time. The boss of a mid-sized American industrial company can now expect to trouser a hefty pounds 1,182,256 for a year's (hopefully) honest graft. That's more than twice as much as their nearest rivals here, although those at the helm of Britain's largest companies do disproportionately well. The average salary for a FTSE-100 lead executive last year was nearly pounds 1.7 million each last year. That's a 23% rise on 2001, of which more anon.

So the old adage 'Go west' remains good advice, but you could also do worse than head south. Australia has an enviable reputation as a land of easy living where everyone spends Friday afternoon on the beach, but our figures show that behind the laid-back image there beats a hard commercial heart. Aussie bosses are the world's third-best paid, ahead of their French, Japanese and German oppos, and the level of entrepreneurial activity down under is second only to that hotbed of individual enterprise, the US. Doubtless sharing a common language with the Americans and British has helped the Aussies pick up a few negotiating tips, and judging by our results, English remains very definitely the language of choice when it comes to talking turkey across the globe.

But American dominance of the top pay table will be of small comfort to big-name bosses here in Britain. This year's new reporting rules mean that all listed companies must now 'fess up their director's pay, something that only about 30% of them were previously doing voluntarily. And with the UK's 10 highest-paid bosses all taking home more than pounds 2.2 million each in cash alone last year, these first public airings of the country's heftiest wage packets have not passed without comment.

'We've had an incredible few months of reporting this year,' says Christine Farnish, chief executive of investment industry trade body the National Association of Pension Funds. 'For the first time, all details have been available for public scrutiny and shareholders have become more and more shocked by some of the goings on in our boardrooms.'

But what has really raised investor hackles this year are the golden parachutes - the huge sums of money due to some executives in the event of their contracts being terminated. GlaxoSmithKline shareholders made corporate history at the company's AGM in May by rejecting a package of pay and benefits worth pounds 35 million to chief executive JP Garnier, including a pounds 22 million payoff in the event of his unscheduled departure.

Whereas normal mortals might expect to receive a few weeks' or months' salary when shown the door, the man or woman at the top of the corporate heap often stands to make a killing by getting the sack. In good times, these parachutes remain firmly packed, but in the current economic slowdown a few freefalling corporate heavyweights have been reaching for the ripcord. Under former boss Adam Singer, shares in cable outfit Telewest fell from pounds 5.63 to 21p, yet Singer collected a pounds 1.8 million payoff when he left last year. And Steve Russell picked up pounds 750,000 on his way out of the top seat at Boots in May after the firm's profits turned ugly following its ill-starred foray into High Street beauty centres.

Such rewards for failure have led to angry claims that there is one rule for the board and another for the rest of the company. Now the DTI has stuck its oar in, releasing a consultation document and muttering darkly about legislation to limit bosses' notice periods (and hence payouts on their departure) to six months.

Our figures seem to bear out these concerns. The FTSE-100 index has lost a fifth of its value in the past two years, but life at the top of those firms is still pretty good. Lead executives in the FTSE-100 enjoyed an average total payrise of 23% last year, at a time when their underlings were being told to tighten their belts.

Broaden the scope to include all businesses large and small, and the inequality between the generals and their soldiers remains. The Chartered Management Institute reveals that British managers received a bonus of 9.7% of basic salary last year, a fall of 1.1% from 2001. The average director's bonus, however, was nearly 30% of basic, up more than 5% on the year before. Yet while our bosses are near the top of our survey, our manufacturing workers do much less well at pounds 26,325 - and have to work harder for it than almost anyone else. We're still working 43-plus hours a week, the most in Europe.

According to corporate psychologist Adrian Atkinson of Human Factors International, this reflects the them-and-us culture that pervades British business. 'Successful companies are a team effort. If the boss fails they should be treated according to the same rationale that would be applied to anyone else.'

Atkinson, an advocate - continental-style - of increased employee involvement, points to failings at the very top of UK plc that lead to the wrong people getting jobs. 'Senior management selection is amateurish, relying on CVs, interviews and instinct. That's not enough. Too often, the attitude when selecting new directors is that they should not be tested as they have already proved themselves. Well, they haven't. Not in the job you want them to do.'

Consequently, he says, UK boards are not numerate, base their actions on opinion and experience rather than evidence, and are beaten hands down by the French and Germans when it comes to making shrewd decisions. 'We are seeing more foreign bosses at the head of British companies and I think that is partly because they are better trained in strategy and analytical thinking.'

But an inability to see past the end of your nose isn't all bad - Brits report higher levels of job satisfaction than those visionaries in France and Germany. Spaniards, meanwhile, are poor but happy, with 50% satisfied at work despite one of the lowest GDP per capita figures in Europe. The Japanese, however, are one of the least happy at work - even a world-leading domestic output can't help them to better a 30% satisfaction level.

If you're an accountant, Britain is still a good place to work, as our bean-counters have been on top of the hill in every MT Salary Survey since 1999. Qualified accountants with five years' service under their belts can expect to earn around pounds 72,000 a year, a hefty 30 grand more than their nearest rivals in America.

Even the most arithmetically challenged of us can spot the financial upside of what has become known as 'offshore outsourcing' - BT is opening two call centres in India and it's not hard to see why. A UK call centre operative expects to earn about pounds 15,000, more than four times as much as their equivalent in Delhi. What's more, those 230,000-odd rupees will buy someone highly educated who regards the work as a career, not a job, and speaks English like - or better than - a native.

The same is true of computer programming, with similar percentage savings available and a ready pool of highly skilled technicians in Mumbai and Bangalore.

Ashank Desai, chairman of Mumbai-based software development business Mastek (whose systems are behind the collection of London's congestion charge) thinks Western business can learn a thing or two from Indian corporate culture. 'In India we don't see big payoffs for departing executives because there is a culture of self-restraint here. After all, everyone is an employee, even the chief executive.'

With executive pay disclosure set to increase, that's a sentiment many British bosses could do well to remember.

< the="" global="" market="" place="" bosses="" do="" best="" in="" the="" us="" and="" the="" uk,="" with="" germany="" and="" sweden="" at="" the="" bottom="" of="" the="" ceos'="" pay="" pile.="" aussies="" are="" second="" only="" to="" americans="" when="" it="" comes="" to="" running="" their="" own="" firms.="" the="" package="" (pounds="" pa)="" ceo="" us="" 1,182,256="" uk="" 408,993="" australia="" 334,691="" france="" 317,566="" japan="" 310,863="" germany="" 278,360="" sweden="" 253,205="" source:="" towers="" perrin="" manufacturing="" worker="" us="" 28,638="" japan="" 26,710="" uk="" 26,325="" germany="" 21,156="" france="" 19,881="" sweden="" 17,235="" australia="" 14,872="" source:="" towers="" perrin="" director,="" human="" resources="" us="" 274,773="" uk="" 190,540="" germany="" 138,545="" france="" 131,048="" japan="" 131,035="" australia="" 120,283="" sweden="" 95,249="" source:="" towers="" perrin="" accountant="" uk="" 72,018="" us="" 42,032="" france="" 40,706="" germany="" 35,067="" japan="" 30,072="" australia="" 28,932="" sweden="" 28,644="" source:="" towers="" perrin="" the="" taxman="" cometh="" maximum="" income="" tax="" rate="" (%)="" sweden="" 54.00="" france="" 53.50="" germany="" 51.00="" us="" 50.23="" japan="" 50.00="" australia="" 48.50="" uk="" 40.00="" source:="" towers="" perrin="" bootstrap="" bosses="" proportion="" of="" population="" involved="" in="" entrepreneurial="" activity="" (%)="" us="" 10.5="" australia="" 8.7="" uk="" 5.4="" germany="" 5.2="" sweden="" 4.0="" france="" 3.2="" japan="" 1.8="" source:="" gem="" european="" disunion="" (pounds="" pa)="" n="" &="" w="" central="" &="" europe="" e="" europe="" finance="" director="" 63k-80k="" 40k-63k="" sales="" director="" 55k-73k="" 36k-58k="" marketing="" mgr="" 41k-54k="" 20k-32k="" web="" developer="" 28k-32k="" 11k-15k="" source:="" antal="" international="" subcontinental="" drift="" typical="" salary="" for="" a="" computer="" programmer="" (pounds)="" us="" 41,154="" uk="" 36,439="" india="" 5,000-8,000="" source:="" hay="" group/cwu/dataquest="" india="" typical="" salary="" for="" a="" call="" centre="" worker="" (pounds)="" uk="" 15,288="" us="" 15,115="" india="" 3,000="" source:="" hay="" group/cwu/dataquest="" india="" more="" than="" money="" the="" spanish="" are="" poor="" but="" happy,="" with="" 50%="" satisfied="" at="" work="" despite="" one="" of="" the="" lowest="" gdp="" figures="" in="" europe.="" the="" japanese="" are="" among="" the="" least="" happy="" the="" working="" week="" hours="" paid="" holiday="" (days)="" hong="" kong="" 45.0="" 7-14="" uk="" 43.5="" 24.5="" us="" 40.0="" 9-20="" sweden="" 40.0="" 25.0="" germany="" 39.9="" 29.0="" spain="" 38.5="" 25.0="" france="" 38.3="" 25.0="" source:="" eiro/various="" gold="" bullet="" redundancy="" (as="" %="" of="" final="" salary)="" hr="" director="" statutory="" total="" japan="" 0="" 177="" sweden="" 50="" 150="" australia="" 0="" 95="" uk="" 3="" 84="" germany="" 0="" 63="" france="" 56="" 56="" us="" 0="" 48="" source:="" towers="" perrin="" gold="" watch="" ceo="" retirement="" income="" (as="" %="" of="" final="" salary)="" sweden="" 60="" uk="" 58="" us="" 55="" germany="" 50="" france="" 39="" australia="" 30="" japan="" 27="" source:="" towers="" perrin="" happiness="" job="" satisfaction="" (%)="" gdp="" (pounds)="" spain="" 50="" 8,644="" us="" 49="" 21,333="" uk="" 36="" 14,467="" germany="" 35="" 13,929="" italy="" 35="" 11,375="" france="" 32="" 13,427="" japan="" 30="" 23,312="" slovenia="" 27="" 5,571="" source:="" the="" economist="" comfort="" zone="" most="" and="" least="" safe="" cities="" safest="" safety="" least="" safe="" safety="" index="" index="" luxembourg="" 133.5="" bangui="" 21.5="" helsinki="" 126.5="" brazzaville="" 26.5="" tokyo="" 122.0="" bogota="" 31.0="" glasgow="" 113.0="" tel="" aviv="" 34.0="" sydney="" 111.5="" lahore="" 42.0="" london="" 100.0="" moscow="" 48.5="" new="" york="" 100.0="" minsk="" 52.0="" calculated="" using="" new="" york's="" score="" of="" 100="" as="" a="" base="" safety="" reference="" and="" adjusting="" for="" internal="" stability,="" law="" enforcement="" and="" crime="" rates.="" source:="" mercer="" hrc="" food="" for="" thought="" adult="" obesity*="" life="" expectancy="" (%="" of="" population)="" (yrs)="" us="" 31.0="" 67.6="" uk="" 21.0**="" 69.6="" germany="" 19.0="" 70.2="" australia="" 18.4="" 71.6="" france="" 14.5="" 71.3="" spain="" 12.0="" 70.9="" sweden="" 11.0="" 71.8="" japan="" 2.4="" 73.6="" *="" body="" mass="" index="" of="" 30="" or="" over="" **="" england="" &="" scotland="" only="" source:="" international="" obesity="" taskforce/who="" beer="" money="" the="" price="" of="" a="" lager="" (pounds)="" sweden="" 2.35="" uk="" 2.20="" france="" 2.00="" us="" 1.80="" germany="" 1.80="" japan="" 1.60="" australia="" 1.50="" source:="""" on="" the="" home="" front="" big="" is="" beautiful,="" with="" ftse-100="" bosses="" getting="" an="" average="" 23%="" rise="" last="" year.="" managers="" do="" best="" in="" inner="" london,="" but="" their="" bonuses="" are="" down="" ftse="" focus="" average="" total="" earnings="" 2002="" (pounds)="" ftse-100="" lead="" executives="" 1,658,472="" ftse-100="" finance="" directors="" 730,522="" ftse="" mid-250="" lead="" executives="" 678,475="" ftse="" mid-250="" finance="" directors="" 422,697="" average="" total="" pay="" rise="" 2002="" (%)="" ftse-100="" lead="" executives="" 23="" ftse-100="" finance="" directors="" 13.3="" ftse="" mid-250="" lead="" executives="" 9.7="" ftse="" mid-250="" finance="" directors="" 14.9="" source:="" income="" data="" services="" around="" britain="" managers'="" earnings="" by="" region="" (pounds)="" inner="" london="" 49,658="" outer="" london="" 45,510="" south="" east="" 41,717="" west="" midlands="" 39,872="" south="" west="" 39,858="" east="" 38,252="" north="" 37,054="" average="" bonus="" 9.7%="" (down="" 1.1%="" y/o/y)="" source:="" chartered="" management="" institute="" directors'="" earnings="" by="" region="" (pounds)="" inner="" london="" 210,113="" south="" west="" 200,049="" outer="" london="" 160,424="" north="" 126,661="" south="" east="" 121,369="" east="" 115,467="" west="" midlands="" 105,599="" average="" bonus="" 28.8%="" (up="" 5.6%="" y/o/y)="" source:="" chartered="" management="" institute="" gender="" gap="" proportion="" of="" female="" directors="" (%)="" 17="" basic="" salary="" (pounds)="" 50,000="" %="" of="" male="" equivalent="" 79="" source:="" institute="" of="" directors="" the="" ethnic="" economy="" minorities="" at="" work="" (%)="" men="" white="" 79.7="" black="" caribbean="" 66.2="" black="" african="" 60.1="" indian="" 74.9="" pakistani="" 60.5="" bangladeshi="" 52.3="" women="" white="" 70.3="" black="" caribbean="" 64.1="" black="" african="" 48.6="" indian="" 59.4="" pakistani="" 25.2="" bangladeshi="" 18.6="" self="" employment="" white="" 11.0="" black="" caribbean="" 7.0="" black="" african="" 8.0="" indian="" 14.0="" pakistani="" 25.0="" bangladeshi="" 8.0="" male="" weekly="" earnings="" relative="" to="" white="" counterpart="" (pounds)="" pakistani="" minus="" 150="" black="" minus="" 116="" indian="" minus="" 5="" source:="" cabinet="" office="" strategy="" dept="">


US: Rob and Tanya Koslowski live in Nampa, Idaho, with kids Luisa, 12, and Don, 14. Rob, 47, is a general manager at the local office of a national airline in Boise, the state capital. His dollars 50,000 salary doesn't go far - the days when bonus and options boosted the family finances are over. Once a keen online share trader, he can't afford to dabble now. 'Daytrading paid for the Chevy,' he says, pointing to the five-year-old Blazer SUV on the drive. They won't replace it for a while yet, as Rob took a bath on WorldCom. Tanya, 40, has taken a part-time job in a real estate office, making dollars 12,000 a year plus commission. There's a steady flow of businesses relocating to Idaho these days, so she keeps busy. Despite Rob's job, the Koslowskis have strayed no further than the Caribbean on their rare foreign trips. Tanya knows that Boise is a bit of a joke to east and west coasters, but she wouldn't swap places. 'The schools are safe here, the kids respect their neighbours. And the mountains are half an hour away for family trips on the weekend.'

INDIA: Sanjay Ghopal, 34, and his wife Meena, 22, live in Mumbai. Sanjay has worked for a firm developing software applications for US and European clients since he left school. With a computer science diploma under his belt and regular nightschool courses on top of his 50-hour week, he earns a respectable pounds 10,000 p.a. Meena has a degree in English and earns pounds 3,000 a year working in a call centre handling billing enquiries for a UK utility. 'It's a good job,' she says. 'We watch British TV on tape. A lot of customers like EastEnders but I prefer Coronation Street.' Sanjay's firm subsidises everything from his meals at work to a loan to buy their new four-room apartment. 'We both send money to our families,' he says. His commute from their suburban home is free, thanks to a company minibus, but it takes two hours each way in Mumbai's traffic. He hasn't had a pay rise this year, nor have his bosses. But they both believe that the flow of service-sector business from West to East will only get stronger.

UK: Claire Stock is 23 and works as a marketing assistant in Leeds. She lives with three mates from university in a rented house in the studenty Kirkstall. It's a bit seedy, but cheap, and their spacious four-bedroom Victorian pile costs only pounds 650 a month. She still enjoys the student vibe of late-night bars, gigs and dingy clubs, but worries about parking her secondhand Mazda MX-5 (last year's birthday present from Daddy) on a street where stereos are nicked almost nightly. She's had a modest rise, which she celebrated by going ski-ing in La Plagne, and now earns pounds 22,000. But the extra dosh isn't enough to fulfil her dreams of a waterside flat in the city's redeveloped centre. She's thinking of buying jointly with a friend, but totting up the domestic budget last week, she found her outlay on vodka and Red Bull a bit of a shock. Claire decided to cut out the booze and readymeals to shape up and save money, but after spending a few evenings cooking, M&S beckons and her resolve is weakening.

SLOVENIA: Andrej Kovac, 38, and his wife Katja, 35, live in a modern three-bed flat in the suburbs of Ljubljana, Slovenia's capital. Andrej attended the Slovenian business school IEDC, and now works in middle management at Ford, earning a comfortable pounds 32,000 a year. Times are good: consumer confidence is high and car sales are rising. Katja works at Mobitel, the country's largest mobile phone company and part of Telekom Slovenije. She earns pounds 18,000, and together they're considered well-off. The Kovacs have two daughters, Marija and Darinka, aged 10 and 8, who attend a nearby state school. Both partners voted in favour of Slovenia joining the EU in the referendum in March, although they think it may bring short-term economic worries. Exports to some of Slovenia's traditional markets will be hard-hit, and the couple fear that taxes may rise. But for the moment this doesn't affect them too much. Andrej has some money invested on the Ljubljana stock exchange, and he and Katja are saving for a small second home in the lakeside resort of Bled, a few kilometres from the capital. They plan to retire there, and enjoy the fruits of both state and company pensions.

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