Arguments for defending high pay levels of company executives can no longer be sustained because their job is "relatively low risk" compared with other posts, according to a report today.
Chief executives are cushioned by large pensions and huge pay-offs, but suffer little more risk of losing their job than the average worker, said the Work Foundation.
The research organisation said turnover among executives in the leading 100 companies was 14 per cent in the year to July, compared with a national average of 18 per cent and a figure of 22 per cent in the private sector as a whole.
Of the 14 chief executives who left their posts during the year, only one was made redundant, and he left with a £5 million pay-off.
In contrast, national redundancy rates for all workers was 0.58 per cent, with an average pay-off of £3,700 for someone on average earnings employed for at least seven years in a job.
Work Foundation director Nick Isles said: "People instinctively understand the difference between risk-taking entrepreneurship and able stewardship of an organisation.
"What the paper shows is that the levels of risk borne by chief executive officers are actually quite modest.
"Reward should go to the talented, the able, the entrepreneurial and the wise. But let us not base arguments about reward on myths about risks that are not actually present.
"A winner-take-all market has developed among top CEOs and nothing seems able to stop it. If we pay our top public servant - the Prime Minister - £186,000 a year why do FTSE 100 CEOs deserve more than 15 times that for stewarding their companies?"