Charity chief executives’ average pay increased by 3.5 per cent last year to break the £60,000 barrier for the first time, according to the Acevo Pay Survey 2011/2012.
The survey of more than 600 chief executives, published today, reveals that the median salary for charity leaders increased from £57,974 to £60,000. It was less than £50,000 in 2005.
The highest salary reported is £167,000.
It is the second consecutive year in which chief executives’ pay has risen by less than the rate of inflation.
Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, the professional body for charity leaders, said this showed chief executives were "showing restraint in testing times".
The survey, based on the responses of 603 chief executives and 125 chairs between May and July this year, shows that London chief executives earn the most on average, at £67,700, and Scottish leaders the least, at £41,983.
One of the most striking aspects of the survey is the growing representation of women in senior posts.
Although women fill only 46 per cent of chief executive roles, compared with 47 per cent last year, they hold 59 per cent of senior management roles. The only senior management role more likely to be held by a man than a woman is that of finance director.
The proportion of female trustees has increased from 17 per cent to 40 per cent, and of female chairs from 29 per cent to 35 per cent, says the survey.
But the gender pay gap has increased significantly – women chief executives now earn £10,100 less than their male counterparts, compared with £6,900 in the previous year’s survey.
The survey reveals the impact of cuts on the voluntary sector: 70 per cent of organisations that receive state funding have experienced cuts. Forty-one per cent have made redundancies.
Bubb said it had been "an incredibly tough year" in which the sector had "been hit with funding reductions of unprecedented severity".
Diversity remains an issue for many boards: most trustees are older than 55 and 96 per cent are white, compared with 93 per cent last year. Only one chair in the survey is aged below 35.