And even the International Monetary Fund is beginning to worry that growing income inequality could hurt economic growth.
The U.K.'s High Pay Centre published a report in January showing that workplaces with big pay gaps tended to suffer more industrial disputes, more sickness and higher staff turnover than companies with fairer pay structures.
CEOs of big British companies enjoy some of the most generous packages in Europe, making $6.5 million on average in pay, bonus and share awards, according to a recent study by the Vlerick Business School.
And a survey of British companies last year found that the total pay awarded to an executive of a FTSE 100 company was 133 times that of their average employee, up from 107 times in 2002.
The EU has already capped bonuses for bankers earning more than 500,000 euros a year ($690,000), a measure that mainly affects executives working in London. The maximum pay is now equal to annual salary or twice salary if a majority of shareholders approve.
Switzerland is giving shareholders more control over executive pay after a popular initiative won clear backing from voters a year ago.
But another initiative to cap senior executive pay at 12 times that of the lowest paid worker was defeated in November after the government and business leaders warned it could force some firms abroad and others to shed jobs.