However the headline figure, which showed a real increase of just one per cent to £14.9m for "total payments to highest paid directors of the top 40 agencies", concealed wide variations.
The highest paid director in British PR, thought to be Roland Rudd of Finsbury, increased his remuneration by almost 40 per cent last year to £3.237m, according to the survey by accountants Kingston Smith. He was one of 19 highest paid directors to take a pay rise.
READ MORE: The top 40: A snapshot of the industry
The largest relative increase was the highest paid director at Melia, whose pay jumped by 188 per cent to £300,000.
In contrast, the report reveals that the biggest loser was the highest paid director at Ketchum, who endured a 30 per cent pay cut from £903,000 in 2012 to £627,000 in 2013. Another 14 executives in the survey earned less than the year before. The greatest relative decrease was at Good Relations, where the highest paid director‘s pay fell by 39.29 per cent to £119,000.
Payments to directors, the next level down, were even tighter. "Total directors emoluments" declined from £41.53m to £41.1m, a fall of almost four per cent in real terms.
The report’s author, Esther Carder of Kingston Smith, said the survey revealed that senior PR people were taking a responsible attitude to remuneration by generally reflecting their individual businesses' performance in their pay.
"Overall directors' remuneration is up about one per cent which reflects how the industry fared. But payments have increased where firms are performing well – as at Finsbury – and have fallen where businesses have performed badly."
She said the general level of payment of top earners was broadly in line with that of other sectors.