I’m not anti-employer, or anti-CEO. I know the importance of good and competent management and the difference that makes – I don’t mind such people being paid well. I’ve just spent two days with some very capable leaders and management in Air NZ and I’m thankful they’re there looking out for my national airline, along with the 10,000 Air NZ employees who help make the difference.
But wage gaps between workers and chief executives have grown so large that some staff would have to work up to 124 years to earn the same as their boss’s annual salary, according to today’s Dominion Post.
This isn’t news. I blogged on the headlines on the same theme in Australia in September last year, about the time we’d all been talking about the huge salary of the Telecom CEO, Paul Reynolds while at the same time hundreds of Teleco engineers were made redundant with no redundancy compensation.
Some said on that blog that I am envious. I’m not. But I struggle with the fairness of the salary gap being so huge between the people who lead our companies and those who actually do the work. I don’t think it contributes anything to reducing the growing inequalities in New Zealand and I’m not sure it adds anything to improving our society.
I don’t know what the answer is, or even if there is an answer – you might have some ideas.
But it feels wrong that one person can be paid so much – or why they even need that much money – when so many other New Zealanders are struggling to make a basic living.
Here’s what the bosses get
Westpac George Frazis $5.59m
Telecom Paul Reynolds $5.15m
Fonterra Andrew Ferrier $5.11m
The Warehouse Ian Morrice $2.84m
Fletcher Building Jonathan Ling $2.71m
Air New Zealand Rob Fyfe $2.58m
SkyCity Nigel Morrison $2.55m
Contact Energy David Baldwin $1.34m
Restaurant Brands NZ Russel Creedy $580,000 to $590,000
Salaries include performance-based bonuses and share options. Source: Unions, Federated Farmers