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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