Benchmark appropriately

April 11, 2013

When the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals discussed openness regarding vice-chancellors’ salaries (Leader, “A clear balance of interests”, 4 April), concerns were expressed about the likelihood of leapfrogging, but it was recognised that the other forces were inevitable. That this has occurred is no surprise, and efforts to benchmark salaries against those in the commercial sector will only accelerate the trend. Furthermore it is not clear that large rewards in the business world result in the recruitment of talented people or those concerned with anything other than self-interest.

A more appropriate benchmark might be something like a multiplier of average academic salaries or professorial salaries. This would reflect more closely the type of person most suited to the job of a vice- chancellor and would relate the post more closely to the institution rather than to an organisation with a different purpose and values.

Norman Gowar
London

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