Polling supports limiting CEO pay packets

New research from the left-leaning Australia Institute has shown 80 per cent of people believe chief executives are paid too much.

Three quarters of Australians believe strict limits should be placed on executive salaries which have almost returned to pre-global financial crisis levels.

New polling from the left-leaning Australia Institute found 80 per cent of people believe the nation's chief executives are paid too much.

The survey asked 1557 people about executive salaries and presented proposals to limit pay packets.

The results showed 75 per cent of those polled supported a strict limit on how much a company can pay a CEO or executive.

Almost 80 per cent supported making companies pay tax on very large payments, like bonuses, to executive staff.

A similar number of respondents supported a new higher rate of income tax for individuals with very large pay packets.

Australia Institute deputy director Ebony Bennett said most people nominated $720,000 a year or less as a reasonable salary for a CEO.

"It is clear the reality of what CEOs are paid is not in line with community expectations," Ms Bennett said.

Former treasurer Wayne Swan said corporate rules needed to change to bring executive pay under control.

"If you look at what's going on, where basically the top end of town and those on the highest incomes are basically gorging themselves," Mr Swan told the ABC on Sunday.

He said bad behaviour revealed by the financial royal commission had been driven by the reward and incentive systems in banks' pay structures.

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