Bonuses for the most senior city workers are expected to sensationally surge by 44% in 2013, despite pressure from shareholders and the public to scale back large pay-outs.

According to financial services recruitment firm Astbury Marsden, the average bonus for managing directors (the level just below the board) is predicted to increase to £166,955 ($272,153, €198,148) in 2013 up from £115,618 in 2012.

This is expected to amount to 115% of their average salary, up from 88% in 2012.

The study also found city firms are now also offering increasingly large pay rewards to entice the most senior staff to jump ship.

In 2013, managing director level staff received a 29% boost to their basic pay when they moved jobs, compared to only 15% in 2012.

"Despite pressure to keep a lid on bonuses, as the economy recovers and bank profits start to return, it's not unreasonable that bonus expectations also rise," said Mark Cameron, chief operating officer at Astbury Marsden.

He added: "City firms are showing a growing appetite for poaching the very best talent from rival firms in the last few months suggesting that the city is now spending less time looking over its shoulder and more time investing in the best people."

In addition, the research revealed the average salary in the city far outstripped inflation, rising by 6% in 2013 to £85,921.

Nearly half (47%) of respondents received an increase in 2013 compared to 44% just two years ago.

However, Astbury Marsden said average city pay rose faster than median pay in 2013 (median pay has remained unchanged since 2011) suggesting that the very top executives are receiving the biggest rewards while junior and middle-ranking staff are making their way more slowly up the pay ladder.

Astbury Marsden said that brokers and financial advisors are expecting the highest bonus amount in 2013 racing ahead of other job functions.

Rainmakers are expecting an average bonus of £94,148, which is 104% of their average salary, while bonus expectations for risk and strategy and change staff fell significantly over the year.