Large sums, fat bonuses for strong performance

Let’s start at the top. Unless stated otherwise, all the salaries mentioned below are annual gross sums, before taxes. The two most competitive sectors of the economy are telecoms and banks. In the top 20 (with the exception of telecoms provider OTE and government-controlled banks), the highest salaries amount to more than 1 million euros while the lowest come to about 150,000 euros a year. The difference comes from bonuses and other extras. Executives who succeed in achieving difficult goals can easily double their income with share packages or entitlement to shares. In short, in those fields salaries are close to those in large countries with large markets. As a top bank official explained: «We are on a par with any other share international investors might choose. If we perform better than Barclays, then executives’ fees can rise.» The same approach applies to telecoms, at least to the three biggest firms. Nobody knows exactly what the most senior manager in the sector earns. For others, we have reliable information showing that their salaries are around 1 million euros a year. Before you get riled, think about the turnover, the clashes and the length of time on the job, «After all,» one person in the field said, «why shouldn’t we have salaries that compare to those of a good soccer player or a good singer, especially when we pay our taxes?» Not many have the talent for such work. At the highest salary level competition is intense, but among the few contenders in the 45-60 age group. Some of them earn even larger sums, according to people who have seen the books of hundreds of firms. At the next salary level are executives mainly from industrial and commercial enterprises that do not encounter such heated competition. At factories that are firmly established in their field, with almost a monopoly, strict hierarchy, and often with a large family of stakeholders or owners at the helm, executives earn close to half a million euros. In most cases, they also get trust and support at difficult times, since these are lifelong relationships. The next rung of executives who have central organizational responsibilities get from 150,000 to 300,000 euros, depending on the size of the firm, its level of technology and its international profile. Next come the financial manager (80,000-140,000 euros), followed by the chief accountant (37,000-77,000 euros). The salaries of executives at the few multinational companies left in Greece are at around the same level. Now that they operate on a global level, the multinationals retain Greek offices purely as regional centers, which usually retain three to five staff members, who are among the lowest ranks in the company’s vast structure. Nevertheless, their salaries compare favorably with those of their local colleagues, ranging from 150,000 to 350,000 euros. The difference comes from the pension arrangements that executives usually have and which provide a supplement to the meager IKA social insurance pension that brings them close to their current salaries.