Top Finnish salaries continue to grow despite recession

eurosDespite the economic downturn, CEOs at listed companies in Finland earned more in bonuses and base salaries last year than in 2005.

According to a survey by Helsingin Sanomat, senior executives and CEOs have defied the recessionary conditions to hold on to their earnings, with the sum of salaries and bonuses paid out to senior management actually growing in the last five years.

In 2005, listed company managing directors received an average of EUR 734,000 in salaried compensation, which included bonuses and benefits but not income derived from stock options. In 2009, this amount had grown to EUR 760,000. The increase, of around 3.5 percent, is in contrast to the message put out by Finnish companies in 2004 that employees would be required to tighten their belts.

While the aggregate income of salaries and bonuses across CEOs has certainly fallen from the economic boom period, the last five year period – which represents the single most significant downturn in recent times – saw no decline. In this time, the basic salary for a CEO rose by 11.5 percent, from EUR 570,000 to EUR 635,000.

There has been a slight narrowing of the gap between top management and employees, though a CEO can still expect to receive a salary roughly 21 times that of an ordinary worker. The one area to show real cut-backs were managerial bonuses, which boomed at EUR 275,000 in 2007 but fell to EUR 123,000 in 2009. Employee bonuses remain largely unaffected.

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