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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of whether or not CEOs and executives should receive more pay than average workers from the real IELTS exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Pay for CEOs and Executives

Large companies should pay higher salaries to CEOs and executives compared to other workers.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Many believe that executives at major companies are overpaid. In my opinion, this disconcerting wage gap is justified as there are few individuals capable of fulfilling the role responsibilities.

Critics of higher salaries for executives point out the unwarranted gap between them and other employees. For example, the average office worker or a cleaner works a similar amount of hours and, in some cases, the demanding nature of their job is arguably more strenuous. Nonetheless, CEOs and other executives get paid in the tens of millions of dollars annually, and this occurs even if the company reports disappointing results or in periods of economic downturn, such as the recent global recession. Their salaries are so many times higher it is impossible to rationalise the disparity by emphasising the hours worked alone. Therefore it is logical to decry the salaries of executives and identify corruption as a culprit.

However, in my opinion, the outsized salaries for executives are justified by supply and demand. It is an uncomfortable fact but true regardless that there is a large pool of potential applicants who would make serviceable replacements for the lowly paid positions. This is not true for executives generally and CEOs more specifically. A CEO must have a strong theoretical background (often based on attending an Ivy League institution), years of proven experience, tireless work ethic, uncommon leadership qualities, and exemplary understanding and insight into global economics. These abilities and characteristics are rare and , therefore, companies must compete to hire them by offering the greatest remuneration packages.

In conclusion, though the salaries for executives appear extravagant, they are the result of a logical calculation of supply and demand. There are more important reforms needed within the free market capitalist model.

Analysis

1. Many believe that executives at major companies are overpaid. 2. In my opinion, this disconcerting wage gap is justified as there are few individuals capable of fulfilling the role responsibilities.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. Critics of higher salaries for executives point out the unwarranted gap between them and other employees. 2. For example, the average office worker or a cleaner works a similar amount of hours and, in some cases, the demanding nature of their job is arguably more strenuous. 3. Nonetheless, CEOs and other executives get paid in the tens of millions of dollars annually, and this occurs even if the company reports disappointing results or in periods of economic downturn, such as the recent global recession. 4. Their salaries are so many times higher it is impossible to rationalise the disparity by emphasising the hours worked alone. 5. Therefore it is logical to decry the salaries of executives and identify corruption as a culprit.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific examples.
  4. Keep developing it fully.
  5. Stay focused on the same main idea.

1. However, in my opinion, the outsized salaries for executives are justified by supply and demand. 2. It is an uncomfortable fact but true regardless that there is a large pool of potential applicants who would make serviceable replacements for the lowly paid positions. 3. This is not true for executives generally and CEOs more specifically. 4. A CEO must have a strong theoretical background (often based on attending an Ivy League institution), years of proven experience, tireless work ethic, uncommon leadership qualities, and exemplary understanding and insight into global economics. 5. These abilities and characteristics are rare and , therefore, companies must compete to hire them by offering the greatest remuneration packages.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your new main idea.
  3. Include specific details and examples.
  4. Continue developing it…
  5. as fully as possible!

1. In conclusion, though the salaries for executives appear extravagant, they are the result of a logical calculation of supply and demand. 2. There are more important reforms needed within the free market capitalist model.

  1. Summarise your main ideas.
  2. Include a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Make some notes on paper to aid memory and then check below.

Many believe that executives at major companies are overpaid. In my opinion, this disconcerting wage gap is justified as there are few individuals capable of fulfilling the role responsibilities.

Critics of higher salaries for executives point out the unwarranted gap between them and other employees. For example, the average office worker or a cleaner works a similar amount of hours and, in some cases, the demanding nature of their job is arguably more strenuous. Nonetheless, CEOs and other executives get paid in the tens of millions of dollars annually, and this occurs even if the company reports disappointing results or in periods of economic downturn, such as the recent global recession. Their salaries are so many times higher it is impossible to rationalise the disparity by emphasising the hours worked alone. Therefore it is logical to decry the salaries of executives and identify corruption as a culprit.

However, in my opinion, the outsized salaries for executives are justified by supply and demand. It is an uncomfortable fact but true regardless that there is a large pool of potential applicants who would make serviceable replacements for the lowly paid positions. This is not true for executives generally and CEOs more specifically. A CEO must have a strong theoretical background (often based on attending an Ivy League institution), years of proven experience, tireless work ethic, uncommon leadership qualities, and exemplary understanding and insight into global economics. These abilities and characteristics are rare and , therefore, companies must compete to hire them by offering the greatest remuneration packages.

In conclusion, though the salaries for executives appear extravagant, they are the result of a logical calculation of supply and demand. There are more important reforms needed within the free market capitalist model.

Answers

For extra practice, write an antonym (opposite word) on a piece of paper to help you remember the new vocabulary:

executives the highest ranking people at a company

overpaid get too much money

disconcerting wage gap worrying difference in salaries

justified reasonable

fulfilling rewarding

role responsibilities what the job requires

critics those who are against it

point out argue

unwarranted gap unjustified difference

average normal

similar amount almost the same

in some cases occasionally

demanding nature how difficult it is

arguably it can be argued

strenuous difficult

nonetheless regardless

CEOs chief executive officer – head of the company

tens of millions of dollars annually every year $20,000,000+

occurs happens

reports disappointing results company revenue/profit is down

periods of economic downturn times when the economy is bad

recent global recession around the world economies doing badly

rationalise justify

disparity difference

emphasising focusing on

logical makes sense

decry are against

identify corruption find that cheating

culprit person to blame

outsized too big

supply and demand how much of something and how much it is wanted

uncomfortable fact unpleasant reality

regardless nonetheless

large pool lots of people

potential applicants possible employees

serviceable replacements good people who can take their place

lowly paid positions not well-paid

generally overall

more specifically more exactly

strong theoretical background good schooling

based on attending because they went to

Ivy League institution Harvard, Yale, etc.

proven experience years of work that show their ability

tireless work ethic work really hard

uncommon leadership qualities rare ability to lead

exemplary understanding excellent knowledge of

insight into ideas about

global economics the world economy at large

characteristics traits

compete fight each other for

offering the greatest remuneration packages pay the most

appear extravagant seem too big

logical calculation rational decision

reforms changes

free market capitalist model the economic system of most countries involving private companies and a consumer economy

Pronunciation

Practice saying the vocabulary below and use this tip about Google voice search:

ɪgˈzɛkjʊtɪvz 
ˌəʊvəˈpeɪd
ˌdɪskənˈsɜːtɪŋ weɪʤ gæp 
ˈʤʌstɪfaɪd 
fʊlˈfɪlɪŋ 
rəʊl rɪsˌpɒnsəˈbɪlɪtiz
ˈkrɪtɪks 
pɔɪnt aʊt 
ʌnˈwɒrəntɪd gæp 
ˈævərɪʤ 
ˈsɪmɪlər əˈmaʊnt 
ɪn sʌm ˈkeɪsɪz
dɪˈmɑːndɪŋ ˈneɪʧə 
ˈɑːgjʊəbli 
ˈstrɛnjʊəs
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs
siː-iː-əʊz 
tɛnz ɒv ˈmɪljənz ɒv ˈdɒləz ˈænjʊəli
əˈkɜːz 
rɪˈpɔːts ˌdɪsəˈpɔɪntɪŋ rɪˈzʌlts 
ˈpɪərɪədz ɒv ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪk ˈdaʊntɜːn
ˈriːsnt ˈgləʊbəl rɪˈsɛʃən
ˈræʃnəlaɪz 
dɪsˈpærɪti 
ˈɛmfəsaɪzɪŋ 
ˈlɒʤɪkəl 
dɪˈkraɪ 
aɪˈdɛntɪfaɪ kəˈrʌpʃən 
ˈkʌlprɪt
ˈaʊtsaɪzd 
səˈplaɪ ænd dɪˈmɑːnd
ʌnˈkʌmfətəbl fækt 
rɪˈgɑːdlɪs 
lɑːʤ puːl 
pəʊˈtɛnʃəl ˈæplɪkənts 
ˈsɜːvɪsəbl rɪˈpleɪsmənts 
ˈləʊli peɪd pəˈzɪʃənz
ˈʤɛnərəli 
mɔː spəˈsɪfɪk(ə)li
strɒŋ θɪəˈrɛtɪkəl ˈbækgraʊnd 
beɪst ɒn əˈtɛndɪŋ 
ˈaɪvi liːg ˌɪnstɪˈtjuːʃən
ˈpruːvən ɪksˈpɪərɪəns
ˈtaɪəlɪs wɜːk ˈɛθɪk
ʌnˈkɒmən ˈliːdəʃɪp ˈkwɒlɪtiz
ɪgˈzɛmpləri ˌʌndəˈstændɪŋ 
ˈɪnsaɪt ˈɪntuː 
ˈgləʊbəl ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪks
ˌkærɪktəˈrɪstɪks 
kəmˈpiːt 
ˈɒfərɪŋ ðə ˈgreɪtɪst rɪˌmjuːnəˈreɪʃən ˈpækɪʤɪz
əˈpɪər ɪksˈtrævɪgənt
ˈlɒʤɪkəl ˌkælkjʊˈleɪʃən 
ˌriːˈfɔːmz 
friː ˈmɑːkɪt ˈkæpɪtəlɪst ˈmɒdl

Vocabulary Practice

I recommend getting a pencil and piece of paper because that aids memory. Then write down the missing vocabulary from my sample answer in your notebook:

Many believe that e____________s at major companies are o__________d. In my opinion, this d_____________________p is j__________d as there are few individuals capable of f______________g the r_____________________s.

C________s of higher salaries for executives p__________t the u______________________p between them and other employees. For example, the average office worker or a cleaner works a s_________________t of hours and, i________________s, the d__________________e of their job is a__________y more s____________s. N______________s, C_____s and other executives get paid in the t______________________________y, and this o_______s even if the company r______________________________s or in p_______________________n, such as the r________________________n. Their salaries are so many times higher it is impossible to r________________e the d_____________y by e__________________g the hours worked alone. Therefore it is l___________l to d_______y the salaries of executives and i___________________n as a c________t.

However, in my opinion, the o_________d salaries for executives are justified by s_____________________d. It is an u__________________t but true r____________s that there is a l____________l of p____________________s who would make s_________________________s for the l___________________s. This is not true for executives g____________y and CEOs m__________________y. A CEO must have a s__________________________d (often b___________n a___________g an I____________________n), years of p__________________e, t_____________________c, u_______________________s, and e______________________g and i_____________o g_________________s. These abilities and c__________________s are rare and , therefore, companies must c__________e to hire them by o___________________________________________s.

In conclusion, though the salaries for executives a_____________________t, they are the result of a l__________________n of supply and demand. There are more important r__________s needed within the f____________________________l.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic in the video below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and use these ideas to practice:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jan/06/top-uk-bosses-are-paid-115-times-more-than-average-worker-analysis-finds

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following speaking questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Leadership

  1. What makes someone a good leader?
  2. Are there differences between male and female leaders?
  3. What makes for a bad leader?
  4. Is it important for leaders to be decisive?
  5. Have leadership qualities changed much over time?

Writing Practice

Practice with the same basic topic below and then check with my sample answer:

Some feel executives in large companies should receive high salaries while others think they are paid too much compared to ordinary workers.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.


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