Economic equality campaigners, The High Pay Centre, says boardroom salaries may be harder to justify after the pandemic highlighted the importance of some of the country's lowest paid jobs.
It estimates the average salary of a top company CEO was £2.7m – around £827.69 an hour in 2020 – the latest data available.
Assuming they start work at 8.30am, they had already earned a Hartlepool full-time worker's average salary – £27,717 in 2021 by around 4.30pm on Thursday, January 6 – just the third working day of the year.
It would take an average Hartlepool worker 97 years to match the salary of a top company boss.
With women in Hartlepool earning less on average for working full-time than men – £23,623 – top bosses will surpass their annual wage in just 29 hours.
High Pay Centre director Luke Hildyard said: "The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how much we all depend on each other. Some of the lowest-paying jobs have been found to be the most important in keeping society functioning through the crisis.
"In this context, vast pay differences may be much harder to justify."
The High Pay Centre said CEO pay had fallen by 17% from £3.3m in 2019.
Danny Magill, senior research officer at the Equality Trust, said: "In a year where this country has faced unprecedented challenges, most CEOs pay packages barely changed, showing how detached they have become from the realities of ordinary working people."