Prime minister David Cameron has promised shareholders a binding vote on executive pay to try curbing excessive salaries.
He told the BBC there had been a "market failure", with some executives getting huge pay rises despite firms not improving their performances.
At present, shareholders have a non-binding, or advisory, vote on pay. But new measures under consideration by the coalition could include shareholders getting a veto both on pay packages and on deals given to executives who leave jobs in which they have failed.
Cameron hinted legislation could be announced in the Queen's Speech, which is likely in the spring.
However, some groups have voiced concerns the new measures may not go far enough.
John Cridland, director-general of the CBI business group, said: "The CBI wants to see a single figure setting out total pay for senior executives, clear links between levels of pay and performance, and if performance falls short, deferred pay or claw-back arrangements in place, so there are no rewards for failure.
"Government concern on this issue is understandable, but prevention of the problem has to be the answer. Binding shareholder votes would simply be shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, as shareholders would only be voting after the problem has happened."
Research from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) suggests chief executives in 87 of the FTSE 100 companies took home an average of £5.1m in basic pay, bonuses, share incentives and pension contributions in 2010-11.
This represents a year-on-year increase of 33%, while the average increase in company value was 24%.
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