* Half of car execs saw pay drop in crisis -survey

* Rate was almost 20 pct across industries in Germany

* Top-execs in auto industry still among best paid

* Gender gap narrowest in IT, technology

Almost half of Germany's car industry executives had to take pay cuts as a result of the crisis, more than in any other industry, a study showed on Thursday.

Overall, almost one in five managers had lower pay than before the crisis, according to a survey of 91,000 executives from lower, middle and top levels of hierarchy in various German sectors by manager magazin and social networking site XING (OBCGn.DE).

Still, automakers' top-level executives bagged an average 168,000 euros ($247,400) per year, more than their counterparts in the finance, chemicals and drugs, retail and wholesale, IT, consumer staples and engineering industries, according to the survey.

The average compensation package of survey participants was worth 82,000 euros, and 7 percent made more than 110,000 euros per year.

Executives in the top echelon made about twice as much as bottom-level subordinates, the survey showed.

Male executives took home 27 percent more than their female colleagues but the gender gap has all but disappeared in spheres beyond 110,000 euros per annum, manager magazin said.

Out of all industries, IT and technology companies put men and woman on a particularly equal footing, it added.

A shareholder rights group called DSW said earlier this month that pay cheques for the heads of Germany's largest listed companies shrank about 20 percent in 2008 as the economic crisis shook up the ranking table of top executive pay,

The average total compensation package among the 30 chiefs of benchmark DAX .GDAXI companies slid to 2.28 million euros last year, DSW said. ($1=.6790 Euro) (Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)