Directorships, already among the best-paying part-time jobs in corporate America, are becoming even more lucrative.
Fortune 500 directors could receive median pay of nearly $234,000 in 2011. That's a 10% jump from the 2010 median of $212,500, according to an analysis out Wednesday by compensation consultant Towers Watson.
Behind the increases: higher cash retainers and gains on Wall Street, which lifted the value of directors' stock compensation 9% last year — the biggest jump in equity award values since 2006, Towers Watson pay consultant Doug Friske says.
Directorships can be far more lucrative. Apple directors averaged more than $984,000 in 2010, while Occidental Petroleum directors averaged nearly $420,000. Moreover, while Towers Watson found median pay up 6% in 2010 and expects gains of up to 10% in 2011, firms such as Allergan and Navistar are boosting retainers by up to 80%.
Directors are tasked with overseeing management, executive pay and corporate strategy. Typically, their ranks have been filled by CEOs and retired executives.
Aside from a handful of board and committee meetings, directorships typically consume little time. A recent National Association of Corporate Directors study found directors averaging just 4.3 hours a week on board work.