Bosses at the UK's top companies have already made more money than the average worker in Worcestershire will all year, estimates suggest.

Using the latest available data, the think tank High Pay Centre estimates that the median annual pay of FTSE 100 CEOs in 2020 was £2.7 million, around £827.69 per hour (based on CEOs working 62.5 hours a week).

Assuming they start work at 8.30am, they had already earned a Worcestershire full-time worker's median salary (£29,871 in 2021) by around 7.30pm on Thursday, January 6 – just the third working day of the year.

It would therefore take an average Worcestershire employee 90 years to earn the annual salary of a top CEO.

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."

The average Worcestershire salary was up from £28,951 in 2020, with women earning less than men on average (£25,984 compared to £32,183),

Meanwhile, the High Pay Centre said CEO pay had fallen by 17 per cent from £3.3 million in 2019.

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."

The Adam Smith Institute said the shrinking gap between top and median pay was driven by "public relations concerns", difficult economic circumstances in the pandemic, and pressure on firms that received furlough support.

Daniel Pryor, head of research at the neoliberal think tank, said: "For large companies, a wide array of economic research shows that small differences in top talent have an outsized impact on results.

"It’s hardly surprising that they’re willing to offer high salaries to attract the very best in an era of global competition."