Now the December year-end contractors have revealed what their bosses took home last year, we can take a snapshot of who earned what in 2008 and how good they were for their money

The value-for-money index (see table) is calculated by dividing pre-tax profit by pay. Top of the pile by a long way was Ian Tyler at Balfour Beatty. The contractor turned in record profits and entered the FTSE 100 earlier this year. One analyst said it showed how undervalued Tyler was: “Balfour Beatty has a culture of prudence that obviously goes all the way through the ranks.”

Andrew Wyllie at Costain was at the bottom, although it may be harsh to judge him for what is effectively a turnaround job. As another analyst said: “For shareholders at Costain it’s a case of ‘jam tomorrow’ and they’ll be watching carefully to make sure he delivers what he promised.”

Elsewhere in the City this week Tony Pidgley’s wife offloaded £2.4m of Berkeley shares. The wife of finance director Rob Perrins did the same and director Tony Carey sold £960,000. Could the sell-off, two days before some horrendous results at Taylor Wimpey, show Pidgley thinks the bottom of the market may not be upon us after all?

Or maybe Pidgley’s wife has her eye on a new horse. She sold her stable of prize steeds earlier this year, but is she perhaps itching to get back in the saddle?