28/10/2011 03:13 BST | Updated 27/12/2011 05:12 GMT

FTSE 100 Directors Enjoy Large Increase In Average Earnings

Directors in the country's top firms have seen their pay rise by almost 50% in the past year, taking their average earnings to just under £2.7 million, a new study has revealed.

Research by Incomes Data Services (IDS) among directors in FTSE 100 companies showed that their 49% increase - which covers salary, benefits and bonuses - was higher than the 43% jump in the pay of chief executives.

Average bonus payments for directors increased by 23% from £737,000 in 2010 to £906,000 this year, said the report.

Steve Tatton of IDS said: "Britain's economy may be struggling to return to pre-recession levels of output, but the same cannot be said of FTSE 100 directors' remuneration.

"The generous remuneration packages that FTSE 100 directors now receive indicates a marked improvement in boardroom fortunes.

"But with closer scrutiny of boardroom pay expected in the future, remuneration committees will have to make sure that they are able to provide full and thorough justifications for the bonuses awarded.

"This means that they will have to be much more transparent about how total benefits packages are structured and how performance is measured."

The pay of FTSE 100 chief executives rose by 43% in the last financial year to an average of £3.8 million, while finance directors enjoyed a 34% increase to take their average earnings over the £2 million mark, according to the report.

Mr Tatton said the figures showed the pay gap between the boardroom and the shop floor showed no sign of closing, adding: "At a time when employees are experiencing real wage cuts and risk losing their livelihoods, without further explanation it may be difficult for FTSE 100 companies to justify the significant increase in earnings awarded to their directors."