More bosses at Britain's biggest companies are having their salaries frozen, although bonuses are rising for the first time in four years.
PwC's analysis of the first 39 remuneration reports filed by FTSE 100 companies this year shows that 45% of executives received no salary increase. This compares with 25% last year, although in a fifth of cases chief executives chose to waive their salary increases.
Bonus payments to bosses increased slightly for the first time after three years of decline - rising by 3% - but PwC said performance conditions on long-term incentive plans were harder to achieve, with pay-outs falling to less than half (47%) of the maximum award available.
The total pay for chief executives including salary, benefits and all incentive plan pay-outs increased by 0.7%, with a median total pay figure of £3.5 million.
Tom Gosling, head of PwC's reward practice, said: "Early 2015 data shows that the pattern of recent years has become a trend. Executive pay is no longer increasing and indeed is falling slightly in real terms."
Almost all companies had the ability to claw back bonuses and many lengthened the time executives have to hold onto the shares they get from long-term incentives.
Mr Gosling said investor pressure and regulation over the last few years have led to a significant raising of the bar in executive pay.
He added: "On the whole the right balance has been struck. Companies can still pay enough to attract talent, but the highest levels of pay are getting tougher to earn, with an improved link between pay and performance."
Yesterday, it emerged that departing Prudential boss Tidjane Thiam received a 36% pay hike as he was awarded a package worth £11.8 million for his final year in charge of the insurance giant.
The group's annual report disclosed that Mr Thiam's remuneration in 2014 rose from £8.7 million the year before.