The other day, I was reading Games Workshop's annual report. Because I am a nerd. Then, I came across this statement.
Games Workshop is obviously doing really well for itself at the moment. They made over £70 million after tax, and paid £47 million of it out to their share holders. But then I came across this gem...
The company paid their staff £2.4 million as a "profit share". So the "truly surplus" profit is nearly twenty times the amount of bonus the staff got. While there's a sharesave scheme, the £800,000 it cost the company this year isn't exactly breaking the bank either.
Obviously, staff are still getting paid, but the annual report doesn't list the whole total of payroll costs, so you can't directly compare how much money investors are getting compared to the people who are doing the work.
No doubt, people want to work for Games Workshop so they can use the competition to keep the staff costs down for all but the best of the best, skill wise.
Imagine, for a moment, that Games Workshop was a co-operative that shared it's profits with staff rather than investors. Staff bonuses wouldn't have been £1,000 each, but closer to £20,000 each (if the company didn't invest into the company more as a result.)
But now that the shares are issued and traded, it's not a genie that can be put back in the bottle. Games Workshop can't afford to buy back all it's shares and become a company - the cost is simply unfeasible now.
Our financial system is really weird, when you start to think about it.