SA’s executive pay gap is a symbol of our economic dysfunction — unless you happen to be an executive. A recent study by Mergence Investment Managers found that SA has the fifth biggest average pay gap in the world, after the US, Hong Kong, Germany and the UK. A recent Moneyweb study compared executive pay and average pay within each company, as opposed to within sectors as in the Mergence study. It found a more modest ratio: when bonuses were excluded, the average executive earned 21 times the average worker’s salary. But when bonuses were included, CEOs pocketed a total package 47 times bigger than their average worker’s pay. Ayabonga Cawe, economic justice programme manager at Oxfam, says these figures strip out outsourced workers, who often earn much less than the lowest-paid employees. Cawe argues that business and government need to reach a consensus on regulating intra-firm pay gaps — with the savings flowing to workers and new productive investment, which is increasingly stu...

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