More than 9,000 public sector workers earn more than David Cameron and 38,045 public sector employees have incomes exceeding £100,000, according to a BBC exposé.
The research carried out for the BBC’s Panorama programme also found that 1,000 public sector employees earn more than £200,000 per year.
According to the report, the NHS pays 26,000 employees more than £100,000 and nearly 6,500 of its employees earn more than the Prime Minister, who is paid £142,000 per year.
The highest paid public servant in the survey was BBC director-general Mark Thompson, who earned £668,000 before benefits and pension payments.
Staff at the BBC featured prominently on the list of high earners, with 331 managers paid more than £100,000.
In education, 17 teachers had higher salaries than the Prime Minister and 385 teachers were paid more than £100,000. The highest paid teacher, employed by Essex County Council, earned £232,500 per year.
Frances Maude, a cabinet office minister, said: “You don’t need to pay stupendous amounts to get good people. You can square the circle of having really good people not on telephone number salaries and massive built-in bonuses. That public service ethos is very important.”
However, Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said the findings were “another attack on the public sector”.
He added: “The majority of public sector workers will never get anywhere near these salaries. For example, two-thirds of local government workers earn less than £21,000 a year and are facing a three-year pay freeze.
“There should not be such a gap between those at the top and those at the bottom. The pay freeze will only make it worse.”
The research was carried out by Panorama in collaboration with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and looked at 2,400 public bodies.