The Institute for Public Policy Research's (IPPR) report – in which the findings appear – was published in the same week that Tesco scrapped its share option scheme and cut the pay of its new chief executive and at the same time Marks and Spencer's boss Mark Bolland embarks on a review of the pay of the retailer's executive staff.
The Guardian website's coverage of the story notes that executive bonses and pay in the financial sector is behind much of the massive increase in executive pay over the past 30 years.
It says: "Large bonuses have been paid to a small number of top earners, yet ordinary workers often see no extra money when their organisation is doing well. The poll to be published next week shows that half of survey respondents think bonuses should be awarded on an organisational or team basis, with only a quarter supporting bonuses primarily linked to individual performance."
When asked what the salary of a chief executive of a large national company should be, the average was £350,579, compared to actual average earnings of £1m.
Of 2,337 people who took part in the research, most felt that lower paid workers should earn more. Office cleaners – who earn around £14,000 – should get a 19% pay rise, prison officers (average £26,800) should have a 20% pay rise and painters and decorators (£22,300) should get 12% more.