Company directors have seen their bonuses fall by 23% to just under £50,000 over the past year, according to a study.
The number of directors being paid a bonus has also fallen, although the average is still worth around 14.5% of salary, said the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and XpertHR.
The report suggested firms might be re-evaluating their approach to pay.
Ann Francke, chief executive of CMI, said: "The astronomical pay packages that have been making recent headlines are the preserve of a lucky few. For most directors, this year has seen payouts reduced, putting the brakes on the gap between top bosses and managers at other levels of our businesses.
"Many employees will hope that this marks the start of a new approach to bonuses and a move to share the benefits of growth more widely as the economy picks up."
Mark Crail of XpertHR said: "Clearly senior managers are not on the bread line, but the figures show that the great majority of executives, and even directors, are not enjoying vast runaway bonuses either."
The report added that most companies are having problems recruiting staff, often complaining about the cost and procedures involved.