• Non-executive directors on the boards of large listed companies are paid an average of slightly over R646,000 per year, according to a new survey from the Institute of Directors.
  • That is well over three times more than the average for smaller companies.
  • The the top end – where large company non-execs can earn nearly R3 million, the difference is even more stark.
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The average South African non-executive director at a large listed company earns more than R646,000 per year for that role, according to a new survey by the Institute of Directors in South Africa.

But those who help with the oversight of smaller companies earn much, much less, the Institute's numbers show. For small listed companies the average pay was a little under R192,000 per year, more than three times less.

Right at the top of the scale the difference jumped to more than eight times; the highest paid non-executive found at a small company earned R353,000 per year – while the top paid ordinary non-executive board member at a large company received R2.98 million.

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In a large majority of cases those payments are in the form of annual retainers, the Institute said, with additional payments to cover travel, and extra payments for meetings beyond the handful of regularly-scheduled gatherings non-execs are expected to attend every year.

Those payments do not include the extra pay received by chairpersons of boards, and those non-executives who sit on sub-committees of boards that deal with audit or social and ethics issues.

The Institute compiled the averages from the remuneration information published by 178 listed companies.

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But such averages are useful only as a rough guide, the institution warned. While non-executive directors "carry significant risk and liability" – and need to be paid for their skills and time – figuring out how much to pay them is a complex process, the Institute said, and payments can vary wildly.

At large companies, defined as those with a market capitalisation of at least R10 billion, the lowest paid ordinary non-executive found was paid a little over R103,000 per year – around 29 times less than their best-paid peer.

At small companies, those worth up to R1 billion, the lowliest non-exec received R27,000 for a year – 13 times less than the best remunerated.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

See also: South African men get paid much more than women - here are the worst industries

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