WE'RE just a few days into 2022, and some of the UK’s top bosses have already earned more this year than the average worker in Gwent will all year, according to a new report.

The High Pay Centre, which conducted the report, said that income inequality could now be harder to justify with some of the country's lowest paid jobs proving the most important during the pandemic, while one Gwent MP has described the findings as “a kick in the teeth for low paid workers”.

It found that the average Torfaen employee would take 102 years to match the annual pay of a top chief executive, while in Monmouthshire – where the highest average salary was found in Gwent – it would still take 77 years.

The think tank estimates the median annual pay of FTSE 100 chief executives was £2.7 million (around £827.69 per hour of their 12.5-hour days) in 2020 – the latest data available.

In Torfaen, the full-time worker's median salary was £26,454 in 2021, and in Blaenau Gwent it was £27,747.

A full-time worker's median salary in Newport last year was £29,017, and £29,289 in Caerphilly, while Monmouthshire’s media salary was recorded as £34,012.

South Wales Argus: The median salary of Gwent full time workers for 2021.The median salary of Gwent full time workers for 2021.

This means the UK’s top bosses have already earned more than the average full-time worker across Gwent, surpassing Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Newport and Caerphilly by the end of Thursday, January 6 – just the third working day of the year – and passing the Monmouthshire figure at around 12.30pm on Friday, January 7.

Torfaen MP, Nick Thomas-Symonds, said: “These figures will be a kick in the teeth for low paid workers across Torfaen who have kept the country going throughout the pandemic, and particularly during the current cost of living crisis.

“Labour’s New Deal for Working People would immediately increase the minimum wage to £10 an hour, empower workers through trade unions, and establish Fair Pay Agreements across the economy so workers can get the pay and conditions they deserve.”

High Pay Centre director Luke Hildyard said: “Covid-19 has shown how much we all depend on each other. Some of the lowest-paying jobs have played the most important role to keep society functioning through the pandemic.

“With the value of the UK economy reduced, there’s also greater pressure to share what we do have more evenly.

“In this context, vast CEO to worker pay differences may be harder to justify.”

Danny Magill, senior research officer at the Equality Trust, said: “In a year where this country has faced unprecedented economic challenges, most CEOs pay packages barely changed, showing how detached high earning CEOs’ have become from the realities of ordinary working people.

“While the taxpayer supported large companies, it was essential workers that kept the economy afloat throughout the pandemic, often for low wages, with no sick pay and at great personal risk.”