CEO remunerations

A new survey gives an insight into how much the majority of Australia’s CEOs are paid. Chairman and CEO of The CEO Institute Ken Gunn believes that the research, carried out in partnership with RMIT University, will help CEOs to benchmark their pay.

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The vast majority of Australian CEOs are running the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that make up 99.7 percent of the businesses operating in this country. As this segment encompasses a huge range of companies and structures it’s not surprising that their salaries range from less than $100,000 a year to over $1,000,000.

In partnership with RMIT University, The CEO Institute conducted an online survey of members to gain a more accurate profile of these CEOs, including their remuneration. In all, 369 members responded – a response rate close to 40 percent – including CEOs of companies representing all industry sectors as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, both commercial and not-for-profit.

The total annual salary packages reported (including wages, superannuation, bonuses and benefits) broke down as follows:

  • 4 percent earned less than $100,00
  • 38 percent of respondents received $100,001 – $200,000
  • 28 percent received $200,001 – $300,000
  • 14 percent received $300,001 – $400,000
  • 8 percent received $400,001 – $500,000
  • 6 percent received $500,001 – $750,000
  • 1 percent received between $750,001 and $1 million
  • 1 percent received more than $1 million

“These results are fairly consistent with average CEO compensation figures in theUS, where the average reported salary package for 2012 was US$197,000,” says Ken Gunn, Chairman and CEO of The CEO Institute.

52 percent of the respondents indicated that their remuneration was linked to company performance, commonly involving a combination of measures such as EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation), sales growth and profit margin. The use of performance incentive packages varied in line with salary – seven percent for those receiving less than $100,000, 42 percent for those earning $100,001 – $200,000 and an average of 86 percent where salaries topped $500,000. Public companies were much more likely to structure packages this way than privately held businesses.

“Contrary to common perceptions, there was no statistical difference between CEO remuneration levels for NFPs and for-profit businesses,” adds Gunn.

Further reports will be released as the responses are analysed progressively over the next few months. “The second report will cross reference salaries and company turnover to provide CEOs with a good benchmark for their own pay,” says Gunn. “We also intend to make this an annual study so that we’re able to track movements in the demographic profile of our company leaders.”

Read more findings from The CEO Profile Survey