The row over executive pay was reignited on Tuesday after it emerged that rewards for blue-chip bosses rose 12% to an average of £4.8 million last year.

The remuneration for chief executives in 2011 far outweighed the 1% average rise for their employees and came despite a 5% fall in the FTSE 100 Index, according to a report by proxy voting agency Manifest and remuneration consultancy MM&K.

A quarter of bosses enjoyed a hike of more than 41%, with Barclays boss Bob Diamond the top earner after securing total realisable remuneration of nearly £21 million.

Business Secretary Vince Cable is currently drawing up plans to give greater power to shareholders but is understood to be considering watering down proposals for a binding annual vote in favour of a poll every three years.

The £4.8 million average total remuneration is roughly 200 times the typical £24,000 private sector wage.

The survey comes the day after it emerged that the boss of Thames Water was awarded a bonus nearly equal to his annual salary after a year in which a hosepipe ban was announced and customer satisfaction "deteriorated".

Who were the top 10 highest-earning bosses in the FTSE 100? Click through our slideshow below to find out...

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  • 10. Dame Marjorie Scardino, Pearson, £9m

    Pearson, one of the world's leading education companies, paid its CEO Dame Marjorie Scardino, £9m last year. Dame Marjorie is notable for being the first female CEO of a FTSE 100 company.

  • 9. Samir Brikho, Amec, £9m

    Brikho heads up Amec, one of Britain's biggest construction companies. The Lebanese-born Brikho has been in charge of Amec since 2006, and earned a £9m pay packet this year.

  • 8. Michael Spencer, ICAP, £9.4m

    Michael Spencer, chief of ICAP, took home £9.4m in pay last year. ICAP is a premier brokering company, and the award-winning Spencer is estimated to have a personal fortune of over £500m. He earned £9.4m last year.

  • 7. Sir Frank Chapman, BG Group, £9.6m

    Sir Frank, seen here picking up his knighthood in 2011, rose from a humble truck driver's soon in Customs House to heading up BG Group, a massive oil exploration company. His pay packet in 2011 - £9.6m.

  • 6. Peter Voser, Shell, £9.7m

    Shell, one of the most recognisable brands in the world, appointed the Swiss Voser in 2009, after being the company's chief financial officer for five years. Voser also runs Catalyst, a non-profit organisation seeking to expand workplace opportunities for women. Voser earned £9.7m last year.

  • 5. Marius Kloppers, BHP Billiton, £9.8m

    Kloppers, who has an engineering PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, runs BHP Billiton, the world's biggest mining company. His total pay packet last year was £9.8m.

  • 4. Sir Andrew Witty, GlaxoSmithKline, £10.7m

    GSK's Sir Andrew Witty joined the company way back in the 1980s and rose up the rank to run the company. As well as earning over £10m last year, Witty was knighted in the 2012 Honours List.

  • 3. David Brennan, AstraZeneca, £11.3m

    Brennan, seen here to the right of the Chancellor George Osborne, runs the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. He earned a total pay packet of £11.3m last year.

  • 2. Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP, £11.6m

    Sir Martin Sorrell, pictured here talking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, is the head of WPP, a global advertising agency which Sorrell himself founded in 1985.

  • 1. Bob Diamond, Barclays, £21m

    The infamous Bob Diamond, who runs the bailed-out Barclays bank, has come to epitomise exorbitant executive pay. Diamond is a big defender of high pay for business chiefs, claiming it is important to "celebrate rewards for success or then we won't have an economy". Diamond trousered a total £21m.