Highest paid, these two words immediately spring to mind images of athletes, Hollywood heartthrobs, influencers, fashion models, etc. but hardly does one think of heads of government in the same light. We have published list after list of the movie industry’s most decadent and umpteen posts on CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, but what about the men and women running them all, the countries and their rich and famous people included? Listed below are the 11 highest-paid Heads of Government in the world. From some surprisingly underwhelming salaries to some solid packages, G.D. per Capita, and the unimaginable, we have it all covered. Their wages are expressed in U.S. dollars, and this list does not include leaders of absolute monarchies. Read to find out if your Head of Government made it to the list:
11. Yoshihide Suga
Title – Prime Minister of Japan
Salary (USD) – $254,932
GP per capita (USD) – 5.2
One perk that we love – The Prime Minister of Japan travels in a Boeing 777, the world’s largest twinjet, which he shares with the Emperor. The aircraft for the use of the Prime Minister and his associates can accommodate more than 350 people. The plane has a radio call sign Japanese Air Force One when operating on official business, and Cygnus One when used outside official work. The Japanese government maintains two Boeing 777 for the Prime Minister, one for primary use, and the second plays the role of a backup complete with maintenance personnel on board.
Some call him ‘Iron Wall’ for his expressionless face and responses, and some call him Mr. Abe’s right-hand man. Call him what you may, not one person in Japan ever expected Mr. Shinzo Abe’s tenure to end and, least of all, get replaced by his fixer. Teetotaler Suga is the longest-serving chief cabinet secretary in Japanese history, but the same can’t be said of his tenure as Prime Minister. After just a year in office, the man has already opened the revolving door for a new Japanese leader. He was the first foreign leader to visit the U.S. since President Biden took office, making him seem momentarily promising.
10. Justin Trudeau
Title – Prime Minister of Canada
Salary (USD) – $260,200
GP per capita (USD) – 5.7
One perk that we love – the Prime Minister of Canada resides in a regal Georgian Revival home called Rideau Cottage on the grounds of Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Ontario. It is a two-level, 22-room home that was built in 1867. Rideau Cottage supported significant renovations in 2000 and is flanked with a grand central entrance featuring a pedimented porch; sash windows look adorable by decorative shutters, and paired chimneys give the home a timeless touch.
There is no denying Justin Trudeau is the blue-eyed boy of world politics. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t Canadian. You will still love the man for simply being this young, charismatic leader that he is. What also works in his favor are plans to lower taxes for middle-income Canadians, giving incredible importance to education as an essential tool for success in life and more. But it’s not all praises for the charming Canadian politician. His $215,000 Bahamas vacation to the Aga Khan’s private island with his family caught the attention of the ethics commissioner, Mary Dawson, and some trouble brewed there. His trip to India cost well over $1 million, including a staggering $17,000 worth of damage for flying a chef from Vancouver. He isn’t royal but has always been rich and continues to live so. We hope to see his dream of making Canada a country where everyone has a genuine and favorable chance to succeed come true.
9. Alexander De Croo
Title – Prime Minister of Belgium
Salary (USD) – $262,964
GP per capita (USD) – 6.03
One perk that we love – For long haul flights, the PM uses the Airbus A321 but also has one Dassault Falcon 90 in addition to an Embraer ERJ 135s and two Embraer ERJ 145s at his service. Members of the royal family share the same assemblage of aircraft.
The Flemish liberal became Belgium’s Prime Minister in October 2020, filling in the vacant position for almost two years. Though De Croo flaunts a political pedigree (he is the son of well-known Belgian politician Herman De Croo, a member of the Flemish parliament), he worked at the private sector, the Boston Consulting Group, in a bid to distance himself from his father’s career. Destiny had its way, and the man is now leading the nation as the Prime Minister. One noteworthy aspect of his government is its higher proportion of women ministers than any previous Belgian government. In a refreshingly pleasant way, half of the ministers are women.
8. Xavier Bettel
Title – Prime Minister of Luxembourg
Salary (USD) – $278,000
GP per capita (USD) – 2.6
One perk that we love – For his various international traveling pursuits, the PM of Luxembourg has at his disposal a private Cessna 550 Citation II, a Learjet 35A, or even a 737-700 chartered from the flag carrier Luxair
The man who said, ‘I’m not the gay prime minister, but a prime minister who happens to be gay’ is Luxembourg’s first and Europe’s third openly gay prime minister. He is a strong advocate of gay rights and is the head of government of a small nation with 630,000. Because the country has fewer inhabitants than a medium-sized city, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel’s salary is pretty incredible.
7. Jacinda Ardern
Title – Prime Minister of New Zealand
Salary (USD) – $325,546
GP per capita (USD) – 7.8
One thing we love about her – Not only did Jacinda Ardern give birth in office, thanks to her position, but she could also take her baby Neve to the United Nations general assembly meeting. The last person who did so was the late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who in 1990 gave birth to her daughter Bakhtawar while in power. She said to The Guardian, “I can take my child to work; there are not many places you can do that. I am not the gold standard for bringing up a child in this current environment because there are things about my circumstances that are not the same.”
An earthquake, an attack, and a Covid-19 pandemic, nothing could deter the Prime Minister of New Zealand from doing her job to the fullest. To honor her commitment to her country and its challenges, Ardern was bestowed the top spot on their list of the world’s most outstanding leaders, by Fortune magazine in May 2021. It’s not all work and no play for the world’s youngest female head of government; Ardern was one of fifteen women who appeared on the cover of the September 2019 issue of British Vogue. While we are on the subject of the highest-earning heads of government, it should be known that Ardern requested a 20 percent wage cut as a sign of solidarity with New Zealand’s five million citizens who lost their jobs or were subjected to a reduced salary as a result of the lockdown. Jacinda Arden’s leadership style is one laden with kindness, love, and integrity.
6. Sebastian Kurz
Title – Chancellor of Austria
Salary (USD) – $328,600
GP per capita (USD) – 6.9
One perk that we love- As the government of Austria has never operated a VIP transport aircraft, the Austrian head of state is usually flown on scheduled flights, preferably using the flag carrier Austrian Airlines. Official work lets PM Kurz charters a four-seater Saab 105OE of the Austrian Air Force for domestic travel.
Being the youngest head of government in the world at 35 has its advantages and its cons too. The media-savvy chancellor brought along the winds of change and a new style of politics that rocked the nation a bit beyond comfort. He maintains a composed demeanor, is a good listener, and went from being Austrian politics wunderkind to tainted with corruption accusations. Today the man is earning more than six times the average salary of Austrian citizens as Chancellor of Austria only nine years into his political career.
5. Angela Merkel
Title – Chancellor of Germany
Salary (USD) – $369,727
GP per capita (USD) – 6.7
One perk that we love – The $300,000,000 Konrad Adenauer, aka Airbus A340-313X VIP, is her pet plane, if that’s a thing. In addition to the long-range four-engined wide-body airliner, Chancellor Merkel has many other aircraft at her disposition managed by the German armed forces.
Climate Chancellor is known as the most powerful woman in the world. This scientist turned world leader is the first female Chancellor of Germany who began her term in 2005 and is serving her fourth. Merkel successfully steered Germany through financial crisis and back to growth. She was hugely instrumental in strengthening transatlantic economic relations. The President of the European Council played a vital role in the arbitration of the Treaty of Lisbon and the Berlin Declaration. She is a pioneer in climate change and rightly said, ‘Climate change knows no borders. It will not stop before the Pacific Islands, and the whole of the international community here has to shoulder a responsibility to bring about sustainable development.’ Merkel has made a fortune while serving her country, and she earns roughly eight times the average wage of German citizens.
4. Scott Morrison
Title – Prime Minister of Australia
Salary (USD) – $369,727
GP per capita (USD) – 9.1
One perk that we love – The Australian Prime Minister enjoys not one but two official prime ministerial residences. First is a Georgian revival style 1927 building called The Lodge, and second is Kirribilli House located in the Sydney harbourside suburb of Kirribilli, New South Wales. At this home, Morrison aims to give his daughters a normal-as-can-be childhood away from attention.
The 30th and current prime minister of Australia earns $369,727 as a base salary, which is seven times the average wage. Morrison started his career as a research manager for the Property Council of Australia, followed by an Australian Tourism Task Force job. As Prime Minister, he has faced several challenges; especially his views on climate change have earned him the moniker’ climate denier’. At first, the PM denied the contribution of Australia’s emissions in the bushfires, becoming the criticized subject of media attention.
He also got slack for handling the Covid-19 pandemic poorly, owing to tardy vaccine rollouts, strict border regulations, and favoritism towards New South Wales. Turnbull, who served as prime minister from 2015-2018 before being ousted by Morrison, commented on the vaccine supply as published on Reuters, “It’s the biggest failure of public administration I can recall. It was a colossal failure, and the problem is you can’t rewind the clock and fix what should have been done last year.”
3. Name – Joe Biden
Title – President of United States
Salary (USD) – $400,000
GP per capita (USD) – 6.7
One perk that we love – If being POTUS wasn’t enough if living in the six floors and 132 rooms of The White House wasn’t enough, President Joe Biden additionally gets a customized Boeing 747-200B reserved for him. Air Force One offers 400 square feet of space that includes a surgical room, private suites for the President, and the capability to feed 100 people at any given point. Did we mention Air Force One is followed by Marine One around the country and even overseas? Wherever the President goes, so does Marine One.
With umpteen perks laid at the feet of the President of the United States, one would assume Biden to top the list. He makes a fortune doing his job as the most important man globally, earning $400,000 a year, which amounts to about seven times the average U.S. per capita GDP, but he isn’t on number one, financially speaking. According to CBS, Joe Biden was worth less than $30,000 in November 2009; fast forward to ten years later to July of 2019, Biden and beau, his wife Jill had earned more than $15 million. In recent news, the man rubbed many Australians the wrong way by forgetting the name of their Prime minister, who he met with for a significant new defense alliance. POTUS called Steve Morrison “Fellow Down Under” in a very Trump-style faux pas. According to NDTV, his exact words were, “Thank you, Boris, and… and I want to thank that fellow Down Under. Thank you very much, pal. Appreciate it, Mr. Prime Minister,” U.S. President Joe Biden said.
2. Name – Carrie Lam
Title – chief executive hong kong
Salary (USD) – $568,400
GP per capita (USD) – 13.8
One perk that we love – Chief Executive Carrie Lam is driven in a Lexus LS 600h L hybrid vehicle and occasionally in a 1997 Mercedes-Benz S500L. Her official ride bears no license plate. Like the representative of the British Crown, her official limousine had a Crown emblem front and rear in place of number plates.
Hong Kong city’s first female leader has earned the moniker “tough fighter.” It’s either her way or the highway, and don’t assume she won’t bang the resignation on the table if you upset her. After graduating from the University of Hong Kong, Lam began her career in the civil service. By 2000, Lam was promoted to the position of Director of the Social Welfare Department. In 2008 she took on Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, which entailed active involvement in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As Lam took on the designation of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong since 2017 and Chairperson of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security since 2020, her remuneration has increased by a hefty 12.4% based on the cumulative change in the consumer price index, an economic indicator that measures inflation.
She is one of the top-earning bureaucrats in the world who is now stuck with “piles of cash” at home because she is denied essential banking services due to U.S. sanctions. Fortune reports, In a television interview, Lam said, “Sitting in front of you is a chief executive of the Hong Kong SAR, who has no banking services made available to her. I’m using cash every day for all the things. I have piles of cash at home because the government is paying me cash for my salary. After all, I don’t have a bank account.”
1. Name – Lee Hsien Loong
Title – Prime Minister of Singapore
Salary (USD) – $1,610,000
GP per capita (USD) –27.8
One perk that we love – The Prime Minister of Singapore lives on a lavish 106 acres estate called Istana. It also serves as the working office of the Prime Minister. Istana is a neo-Palladian-style building designed by British military engineers in India. It looks like a typical Malay house, flanked by statuesque columns, deep verandas, louvered windows, and paneled doors. The central three-story 28-meter-high tower block dominates the building, and this dwelling has witnessed 21 terms of governorship and eight terms of presidential tenures.
PM Lee earns a hefty salary as is in the top slot for the highest-paid heads of government. For the sake of comparison, his HK$2.2 million a year salary is 12 times as much as Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia. Similarly, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Ueli Maurer, earns less than a third of PM Lee’s salary, at S$682,000. President Donald Trump would’ve made peanuts as he took home exactly S$1 of his $400,000 salary, but he has his businesses to keep him afloat. PM Lee’s salary is higher than the sum paid to France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom combined, making it 20 times the country’s GDP per capita. Well aware that his remuneration is the talk of the town (read: world), he once stated in an interview, “The (U.S.) president is paid less than me, yes. But the high-level residents in the White House travel in Air Force One, live in the White House and vacation in Camp David,” he said. Lee also pointed out that U.S. presidents earn millions of dollars long after their tenures are over. “All they have to do is to turn up for an appearance, make a few remarks (and they receive) a hundred thousand dollars a time,” said Lee.