Top Irish CEOs earn 33 times more than their average employees

The average salary of Iseq 20 boss has risen to €1.88m, according to new figures

The bosses of Ireland’s top 20 companies earned, on average, 33 times more than their staff and secured pay increases twice as large as their employees, research by The Irish Times has found.

Remuneration for the top 20 bosses of companies in the Republic increased 5.25 per cent to €35.8 million in their most recent accounting years while the salaries of their employees rose 2.5 per cent.

Although the percentage rise is far more muted than that in the US and Britain, it is adversely affected by the fact that two of the best-paid executives took pay cuts in their most recent accounting period.

The research, compiling total remuneration from the latest annual report’s of the Republic’s top 20 listed companies, found that the pay of chief executives rose from €34.09 million to €35.88 million while remuneration of employees in those companies increased from €13.35 billion to €13.69 billion.


The highest-paid chief executive among the Iseq 20 grouping continued to be Albert Manifold of building materials giant CRH. Although he took a 13 per cent drop in his remuneration, he topped the list with €8.65 million.

Michael O'Leary, the chief executive of budget airline Ryanair, also took a hit in remuneration in this survey, seeing his package fall almost 29 per cent to €2.3 million.

Percentage gainer

The biggest percentage gainer was former Paddy Power Betfair chief executive Breon Corcoran whose remuneration package rose 105.7 per cent. In the year he left the betting company Mr Corcoran received €3.2 million.

While Mr O'Leary was the biggest loser, Kevin Toland is taking a remuneration package 24 per cent lower than that of the previous year. The dip, however, is attributable to the fact that he joined the company in May 2017.

In the UK the picture is quite different with a survey last Wednesday showing that pay packages for the top executives of Britain’s 100 biggest listed companies rose 23 per cent over the past year. The survey showed the average income for chief executives of companies in the FTSE 100 index was £5.7 million (€6.4 million).

In the Republic, the average pay was more than 70 per cent lower at €1.88 million. However, the average pay of the same companies employees was €55,595, meaning the average employee earns 33 times less than the average boss.

Other big gainers in our survey were former Kerry Group chief executive Stan McCarthy, Origin Enterprises boss Tom O'Mahony and Irish Continental Group chief executive Eamonn Rothwell.

Only female

Mr McCarthy, who stepped down from Kerry Group on September 13th, 2017, saw his remuneration increase 49 per cent to €5.26 million. His opposing number at Glanbia, and the only female on the list, Siobhán Talbot, saw her package fall 4.38 per cent to €1.94 million. Mr O'Mahony's salary, meanwhile, went up by more than 47 per cent to €1.03 million while Mr Rothwell's remuneration increased almost 19 per cent to €2.76 million.

AIB chief executive Bernard Byrne was the only person whose remuneration remained static at €600,000.

Glenveagh Properties, which had its initial public offering at the beginning of October 2017, had the lowest average remuneration for staff at €29,423 while Hibernia Reit had the highest at €163,843. Bank of Ireland was the higher paying of the two banks on the list with average remuneration of €80,743 while hotel group Dalata was another company with a low average remuneration package of €31,231.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business