australian dollar

Australia's CEOs saw a startling 14% pay rise in the last 12 months, while the rest of the workforce received merely a 5% increase in their wages, a new report has revealed.

This was not only an Australian trend, as high-level executives were seeing salary increases throughout the world, according to the Governance Institute of Australia's latest annual report.

The news defies pleas for salary restraint from business leaders themselves and comes as living expenditures rise. Meanwhile, it was announced last week that the minimum wage in the country will increase by a mere 3.75%, The Guardian reported.

Governance Institute CEO Megan Motto argues that high executive salaries are justified as a reward for investment gains, but she also recognizes that many Australians struggle to make ends meet by working several jobs.

Despite a difficult labor market, Motto did acknowledge that it was challenging to reconcile this with the realities of many Australians struggling financially and turning to numerous jobs.

"We have also seen increased shareholder and investor scrutiny of executive pay in the past 12 months, which is likely to continue if companies aren't able to justify such substantial remuneration increases," Motto added.

Australian CEO salaries have increased recently, bringing their average pay to $1.37 million, yet traditionally they have trailed behind their U.S. and European rivals.

The widening gap between typical worker earnings and CEO remuneration is highlighted in the paper, which also implies that shareholders may resist these significant pay hikes unless they are amply supported by firm success.

"Executives are clearly being compensated for delivering profits and returns for shareholders and are making the most of a competitive market for top talent," Motto told Australian Associated Press.

"Against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis, and with so many doing it tough, it might be hard for some to stomach these figures on an individual basis."