Pension funds have been urged to directly engage with companies on executive pay by leading corporate governance bodies.
Hermes Equity Ownership Services and the National Association of Pension Funds want to "shift the current political and societal debate" on executive pay by creating a greater alignment between companies and shareholders.
Public anger has escalated over executive pay since the financial crisis and the government has acknowledged a "disconnect" between remuneration packages and company performance.
Hermes EOS chief executive Colin Melvin said shareholders must work with companies to improve pay structures.
He said: "We are at a moment of crisis in the evolution of publicly listed companies and their relationship with their shareholders, with a poor economic backdrop and minimal growth intensifying the need for reform.
"Effective reforms will reconnect companies with their employees, clients and other stakeholders, and provide the basis for the generation of long-term value for their long-term shareholders."
NAPF head of corporate governance David Paterson (pictured) added: "Remuneration is not going to change overnight but we expect quite significant changes over the next five years in the way remuneration is structured and paid."
Hermes and the NAPF hosted a meeting in February between representatives from the remuneration committees of 44 FTSE100 companies and 42 pension schemes, which was also attended by business secretary Vince Cable.
Incorporating SM&CR into company culture
'Strong client focus'
Until Woodford suspension ends
Latest news and analysis
Our weekly heads-up for advisers