We know that senior business executives, popular celebrities, and star athletes make a lot of money. But, how do world leaders rank in terms of their compensation? And what do YOU think about this?

Here are 20 highly-paid world leaders according to 24/7 Wall St., as reported by Thomas C. Frohlich:

“In many countries, politicians frequently make more than the average citizen. This is especially true of countries’ leaders. While the size of a president’s or prime minister’s paycheck varies considerably between countries, world leaders are on the whole paid very well.”

“Though leaders’ salaries do not align perfectly with their countries’ GDP per capita, there is an interesting trend. In Singapore, which trails only Luxembourg in wealth, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong earns about $1.8 million yearly and is by far the highest paid leader. However, in Iceland, which is among the least wealthy nations of the 20 considered, Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has the lowest annual salary ($133,729) of the 20 leaders.”

Following are the annual salaries of the twenty leaders as per 24/7 Wall Street.

  1. Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore, $1.8 million
  2. Leung Chun-ying, Hon Kong, $576,000
  3. Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, Switzerland, $460,000
  4. Barack Obama, United States, $400,000
  5. Malcolm Turnbull, Australia, $396,000
  6. Werner Faymann, Austria, $343,000
  7. Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg, $255,000
  8. Justin Trudeau, Canada, $253,000
  9. Angela Merkel, Germany, $244,000
  10. Charles Michel, Belgium, $239,000
  11. Stefan Lofven, Sweden, $235,000
  12. Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Denmark, $222,000
  13. Enda Kenny, Ireland, $209,000
  14. David Cameron, United Kingdom, $206,000
  15. Mark Rutte, Netherlands, $204,000
  16. Shinzo Abe, Japan, $203,000
  17. Francois Hollande, France, $202,000
  18. Erna Solberg, Norway, $187,000
  19. Juha Sipila, Finland, $159,000
  20. Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, Iceland, $134,000


16 Replies to “How Well Are World Leaders Paid?”

  1. There is a interaction between the leader’s salary and the GDP of country. In personal opinion, i think the relationship may be positive. However, another fact can’t be doubt, it is that the different countries have different political regulation which also influence the level of leaders’ salary. For example, In Singapore, the government always provide a higher salary for officers, because they hope use this method to avoid and reduce the corruption problems. And obviously it is effective.

  2. I found it shocking that the annual salary of a country’s leader is paid on average three times the countries GDP per capita, and even more shocking that some countries can have head of government that earn more than 20 times the country’s GDP per capita (for example in Singapore). This doesn’t even include the other benefits the head of the governments receive – for example they typically have staff (butlers, chefs, etc.), free transportation, rent free living, among many other financial perks. I personally believe there should be a maximum set to the amount of times higher a government leader’s salary can be, based on the country’s GDP. For example, if it was set at a max of 3X the GDP, then as the country’s wealth went up, so would the salary and as it went down, so would the salary. I do believe they should be paid above the average, because they are above average and they have a very important role within the country and should be generously compensated for their service, but I don’t believe it’s right to have a leader paid 20 times the country’s GDP per capita – because it almost segregates the country’s leader and makes it unrealistic for them to feel the wealth or struggle of the country.

  3. I think higher salaries can worsen corruption, especially in developing countries. Low salary definitely pushes for corruption, but simply increasing the salary may not reduce corruption. Salary raise must go in parallel with strong monitoring and enforcement institutions.

  4. As a broke college student it makes me sad to see how well these leaders are paid. Looking on a grand scheme of things,it makes me sad that these leaders are getting paid in respect to how actors and singers get paid. How does Barack Obama, the President of the United States somehow makes less money than a family such as the Kardashians.

  5. Personally, I feel that world leaders getting paid handsomely is reasonable due to the work load that they have and every decisions that they made is crucial to the future development of the country. It is like paying the best candidate selected for the job while paying them the wages that they deserve. Also, for Singapore, it has the highest wages for its politicians and leaders because they believe that through paying them higher wages, they will be less prompt to corruption, so they can focus mainly on deciding what is beneficial or best for its country and the people. Moreover, what comes along was if politician found guilty of corruption or any other crimes being committed, they usually receive much more severe penalties or punishments because they are in the spot light.

  6. In comparison to how celebrities, athletes, and executives make, I feel that world leaders do not make enough of money. Considering the role and responsibility these leaders have, I feel that they deserve to make more. How does a celebrity make more money then someone who is in charge of a country and making decisions that could effect millions of people. World leaders are not getting the pay they should be earning as a result of all the long hard hours they put in each day.In my opinion a higher salary would motivated these world leaders to work even harder and do the best of their ability.

  7. I am not familiar with the political situation of other countries, so I just want to make comment about HK. Leung Chun-ying, the Chief Executive, paid second high salary as leaders. I believe such high salary has its political and economic meanings. Based on my understanding, HK government pay officers high salaries to prevent any illegal behaviors such as bribery. On the other hand, there is also an department called ICAC, also aim at those officers who has such illegal behaviors. Perhaps some people believe Mr Leung should not be paid such high salary. But in my opinion, not only Mr Leung but also other senior executive, they worth it. Because compare to the high salary, there will be worse problems if those executives use their power and right to do something illegal or unethical, because those are not just economic loss, but also the damage of image of company, area or country.

  8. These base salaries are meaningless. Much of their living expenses is provided for separately by their respective governments. What really counts from a financial perspective is the massive earning potential that comes after they leave office in the form of boards, speaking engagements, books, etc. Clinton is a classic example of one who left office relatively broke, but is now fabulously wealthy.
    And I also think that the US president’s salary was raised in order to increase the salaries of government employees in general; no one can earn more than the highest executive’s salary. There is a need to attract competent government employees at competitive salaries, and the former $200k ceiling will not bring them in.

  9. This article is interesting, because I feel that world leaders should be paid more than they are (not Singapore). The people deciding whether or not their countries go to war should in my opinion not make any less than $500 thousand.

  10. I find it funny how many people consider leaders to be wealthy individuals that are “untouchable.” To me, a leader is an individual who sacrifices all they can in order to help their people and those around them. I applaud Iceland, Finland and Norway for recognizing that money is not always correlated with power, but power can be linked to sacrifices and equality.

  11. Who would have thought that the President of the United States get paid less than three other leaders of the world. I really thought our presidents would be being paid the most compared to all of the other countries in the world. This was an interesting article to read and gain some insight on how much the world leaders make annually. Furthermore, the difference from the most income and the lowest income is shocking.

  12. This is actually really interesting, I actually never really thought about what world leaders made until reading this blog post. It’s really interesting to compare the salaries of different world leaders to one another, and compare who makes the most, to who makes the least. But in all honesty, a leader shouldn’t be someone who just makes a bunch of money, a leader should be someone who is passionate about what they are doing, and are able to help others around them.

  13. I think there is a correlation between a countries GDP and its leader’s salaries. The higher it is, the higher the salary. At the same time, it shows that our leaders are not making as much as some other people, which is good for the common person. It shows that they’re not just in it for the money, and are truly working for the people, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

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