The Institute of Directors says fees for chairs of boards have increased 15% which reflects the increased accountability that is expected of the role.
The institute has released its 2012 report on directors' fees which shows the median fee for a non-executive director rose by 2.9% to $36,000.
The median fee for non-executive chairs rose 15.3% to $48,834.
Chief executive Ralph Chivers says there has been a modest increase in directors' remuneration which shows financial restraint in a time of global financial strife.
He says the variance reflects a trend towards paying the premium to the chairman.
Mr Chivers says it recognises that chairs have a much more substantial role and it could be a response to increased financial scrutiny of companies which puts a greater load on the board overall and particularly on the chairperson.