THE CEOs of Ireland's largest companies in many cases earn more in bonuses than in basic pay, according to a new study.
The new research from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) found that a significant number of chief executives earn an average of more than €2million (£1.8m) a year.
The ICTU examined the earnings of the CEOs of Ireland's 20 biggest firms, 12 semi-state organisations and seven large Irish companies in London as part of their study.
The average basic chief executive pay of the top 20 largest companies listed on the stock market was €786,000 in 2016, compared to €701,000 in 2015.
With bonuses taken into account, the average total pay in 2016 for the CEOs of the 27 listed companies was €2.1 million compared to €2.08 million the year prior, a slight increase of 1 percent.
The ICTU found that it would take someone on €36,900 p.a – Ireland's average wage in 2016, according to the CSO – 270 years to earn what CRH Albert Manifold earned in the last 12 months.
This was up from 151 years based on Manifold’s 2015 earnings.
It would take 121 years for an average Irish worker to earn Breen’s top salary in 2016, which was the second highest.
The ICTU said the figures show there is an “extraordinary” gap between top CEO pay and average earnings in Irish firms.
Co-author Dr Peter Rigney said: "This study has significant implications for wider Irish society, given the enormous disparity it reveals between senior executive pay and average earnings”.
“In our view, if this trend is left unchecked it will inevitably lead to greater levels of inequality across society,” he said.
“To that end we need to see greater transparency and accountability around senior executive pay and remuneration packages.”
You can take a look at the ICTU's findings here.