A total of 25 Northern Ireland civil servants are being paid over £100,000 a year, it has been revealed.
The figure works out at an average of more than two senior officials per Stormont department in the salary bracket.
It has been challenged by UUP deputy leader Danny Kennedy, who dubbed the top earners the " 100k club".
The information was provided to Mr Kennedy by Finance Minister Peter Robinson, in reply to an Assembly question.
Mr Robinson stated that, as of April this year, there were 25 employees of the Northern Ireland Civil Service "with salaries, including bonuses, in excess of £100,000".
Mr Kennedy said: "When I asked the question requesting the information, I had not expected the figure to be as high as 25.
"What is more, the figures also showed that some of these individuals had received 4.5% pay increases in the past two years."
The UUP MLA said the "100K club" numbers more than 25, as it would also include other senior employees within the public sector, such as quango chiefs.
He asked how "a small place like Northern Ireland" could sustain such a level of payments.
"I think the ratepayers will want answers about this in the light of the extra money they are being expected to find for rates and water charges - the new stealth tax," he added.
"We have only 11 departments. That makes an average of more than two of the 100K club in each department.
"I would need a lot of convincing about this level of pay."
The Finance Minister also informed Mr Kennedy that eight of the 25 top civil servants in the pay bracket received wage increases of 4.5% in 2006.