Leading universities oppose OfS pay transparency demands

Institutions will need to disclose full details of all those earning more than £150,000 under the regulator’s proposed new rule

February 8, 2018
Person hiding behind curtain
Source: Getty

Plans to force English universities to publish the salary details of all staff earning more than £150,000 have been criticised as “disproportionate” and potentially damaging by leading institutions.

While the new Office for Students has pledged to tackle the “excessive pay of vice-chancellors”, its new proposals go much further on the issue by insisting that institutions publish the job descriptions of all staff earning more than £150,000 a year. Universities must also disclose “full details of the remuneration packages of those staff, including bonuses and pension contributions” and provide a justification of this pay that references “performance against outcome measures”.

Under the plans, published in the OfS’ consultation on its new regulatory framework, releasing these details would be an “ongoing condition of registration” to the new higher education regulator.

The proposed new requirement is likely to oblige universities to report details of hundreds of academics and high-earning administrators, in addition to vice-chancellors.

In its response to the OfS consultation, the Russell Group, which represents 24 research-intensive universities, says that “around three-quarters of those paid over £150,000 are on academic contracts (including clinical academics where the pay scales are set by the NHS)”.

Describing the plans as “disproportionate”, the Russell Group says that they “risk undermining the ability of institutions to compete in an international market for academic and professional services talent”.

“It would be counterproductive to UK higher education and research to make the reward arrangements of top-performing academics and managers known to competitors,” it adds.

The Russell Group has urged the OfS to allow universities to continue with current arrangements under which they sign up to the Committee of University Chairs’ voluntary code on pay, which is currently under review.

The University of Birmingham also opposes the OfS plans, describing the proposed requirement as “very onerous” in its consultation response.

“We support the need for greater transparency in senior staff remuneration but have concerns about the regulatory burden that will be imposed by [these] detailed requirements,” says the university, which, according to its annual accounts, paid 48 individuals more than £150,000 in 2016-17.

The requirement is also likely to lead to greater transparency in the rare cases in which some universities’ staff are paid more than the vice-chancellor.

At the University of Cambridge, four staff members were paid more than the £355,000 salary earned by Sir Leszek Borysiewicz in 2016-17, with the highest-paid earning between £640,000 and £650,000, university accounts state. Three staff members at the University of Oxford earned more than Louise Richardson, its vice-chancellor, whose salary was £366,000 that year, with the highest-paid earning between £880,000 and £890,000.


登录 或者 注册 以便阅读全文。




  • 获得编辑推荐文章
  • 率先获得泰晤士高等教育世界大学排名相关的新闻
  • 获得职位推荐、筛选工作和保存工作搜索结果
  • 参与读者讨论和公布评论


Reader's comments (3)

About time there are some admin pro/vcs earning way too much and other that earn the money i.e. the academics earning way too little. We need to know the names of those earning way too much. Why should some senior admin be earning double treble what a professor earns?
I am unconvinced that the arguments of the 'Russell Group' add up on this. To take one argument, it does not look or sound like a great 'regulatory burden' - rather a matter of sharing existing documentation. And as a sector we are not unreasonably being asked to be more transparent - I see no fundamental problem with that. We have a perfect storm in HE with VC pay concerns and staff pension concerns. Greater transparency has a role in helping us through the storm.
It is interesting to note from the article that the very highest paid in the sector appear to be a small group of academic staff who get paid more than VCs e.g. see the figures for Cambridge and Oxford.


Log in or register to post comments


Recent controversy over the future directions of both Stanford and Melbourne university presses have raised questions about the role of in-house publishing arms in a world of commercialisation, impact agendas, alternative facts – and ever-diminishing monograph sales. Anna McKie reports

3 October