Directors from 350 FTSE companies received an 18% increase in their annual pay and bonuses last year, according to a survey by pay research company Incomes Data Services (IDS).
IDS claimed the survey raised important questions about the issue of corporate governance, claiming that the performance-related bonuses had “not come at the expense of basic salary levels”.
Almost half of FTSE 350 chief executives earned more than £1m a year, IDS found.
The TUC responded to the survey by pointing out the widening pay gap with companies.
TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said: “It’s time for shareholders to pay more attention to the total amount paid out to directors and concern themselves more with the gulf opening up between top bosses’ pay and the rest of the workforce.”
But John Cridland, deputy-director of the CBI, said that remuneration committees were “adequately equipped” to set pay at the right levels with the right performance criteria.
Separate research by the Institute of Directors today found that female directors earn, on average, almost 25% less than men.
The findings show that across companies of all sizes a female director now earns an average of £55,000 per year while the average male executive’s basic pay is £72,100.
The biggest pay gap occurs in the financial services sector where women bosses earn 35% less than their male counterparts.
The public sector has the smallest gender pay gap at 7%, and also has the highest proportion of female directors, at 21%.