The increases for chief executives at FTSE 100 companies were more than double those gained by other employees.
On average, chief executives earn a package of some £2m a year.
A 7.8% increase was also three times the rate of inflation though it was slightly lower than the 8.4% rise seen in the previous year.
Calvin Jackson, partner at Watson Wyatt, who carried out the survey, said the extent to which senior pay was holding up was a surprise.
‘One would have expected a much sharper decline. There has been true resilience when you think how tough it has been,’ he told the Financial Times newspaper.
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