Majority want CEO salaries capped


A new national poll, conducted by The Australia Institute, has found a majority of Australians support placing a strict limit on the maximum salary for CEOs or executive staff, with four out of five saying CEOs are paid too much.

The poll follows a report by The Australia Institute that showed ten years on from the GFC, CEO salaries remain excessive. That research paper also discussed proposals for limiting CEO pay.

The Australia Institute surveyed 1,557 Australians about CEO and executive salaries in Australia, and the proposals to limit them.

  • Four in five (80%) said they are paid too much, only 9% said they are paid the right amount, and 2% said they are paid too little.
  • 75% supported a strict limit on how much a company can pay a CEO or executive staff member, with 42% strongly supporting.
  • 79% supported making companies pay company tax on very large payments to executive staff (by limiting tax deductibility as a business expense), with 47% strongly supporting.
  • Among voters for all parties, there was at least 68% support for each option.

Figure 1 – Support for proposals on very high executive salaries


 “When asked what they considered a reasonable salary for a CEO, most selected a salary of $720,000 a year or less,  ” said Ebony Bennett, Deputy Director of The Australia Institute.

“It is clear the reality of what CEOs are paid is not in line with community expectations.”

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To coincide with the 10 year anniversary of the Global Financial Crisis, The Australia Institute is running a program of events and initiatives to look at lessons learnt from the GFC, and lessons still to be learnt.

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