If you have CGI programs doing a relatively long jobs (say you have some programs that do custom image manipulation and that process dwarves the time needed for compilation - or you are doing database queries and the time it takes for the queries is far more than starting the Perl program and setting up the database connection), the savings are minimal.
While not a silver bullet by any means, the Apache Cleanup handler can be very nice. It is essentially the very last phase the the Apache request cycle, and is actually after the last of the headers have been sent to the client (after the request is over form the users perspective).
I (ab)use it to generate very large DB-query intensive PDFs on several sites. The hijacked process itself stores its progress in a database, and marks a flag when the PDF is done. All the while the users page has been auto-refreshing at a reasonable interval (and tying up a second apache child :-P ), and once the PDF is done and the flag has been set, they can download it.
Sure this can get tricky, since the apache process in a sense becomes "headless" for a while, but with proper exception handling and careful use of alarm you can avoid most of the issues that might come up.
I would argue too, that this approach is actually more effieient since you will save the cost of module loading and have the benefits of database connection pools and other mod_perl goodies at your disposal.