The pay non-executive directors in Britain has increased by more than 20 per cent over the past 18 months as more intense investor scrutiny, corporate governance responsibilities and bigger workloads make the job a more onerous one.
Figures from Incomes Data Services (IDS) show that the average pay of a FTSE 100 non-executive director has risen to some £42,000 a year, with FTSE 100 non-executive chairmen earning almost £250,000, a rise of almost 25 per cent.
Rewards at FTSE 250 companies is rather lower, averaging £30,000 for non-executive directors and £117,500 for non-exec chairmen.
The figures also revealed huge variations in pay, with Vodafone offering £95,000 for non-exec directors while Eurotunnel offered a mere £5,000.
According to IDS, the figures mark the second year that NED fees have increased, suggesting that the fall-out from the Higgs review of their role and effectiveness and its discussion about how they should be rewarded is having an impact.
It also emerged that where reviews of NED fee levels were reported to have taken place, the result was often a substantial increase.
But one area where top companies are falling short of Higgs' recommendations seems to be board diversity.
The survey found that female and ethnic minority NEDs are still few and far between. In the FTSE 100, only 12 per cent of non-execs are female, while in the FTSE 250 just 6.3 per cent are women.
However other research has suggested that t the Higgs recommendations themselves that are standing in the way of increased boardroom diversity. According to the 2004 Ernst & Young Corporate Governance survey, directors are increasingly reluctant about becoming Non Executives, believing that the job has become too risky, too high profile and too time consuming.