Distortion of salary figures

October 23, 2008

Your article "5% pay rise takes some salaries up by a quarter in three years" (16 October), makes reference to the statement by the Universities and Colleges Employers Association that some academics have seen their salary rise by up to 26.6 per cent since 2006 as a result of annual increments, in addition to the 15 per cent pay award.

However, the effects of increases to university salary costs from annual increments are balanced by the fact that every year senior academics with salaries around the top of the pay scale retire and are replaced by junior lecturers whose salaries are at the bottom of the pay scale. The figure of 26.6 per cent is therefore a gross exaggeration of the overall increases in salary costs that universities are likely to incur in the period 2006-09.

J. Richard Hanley, Department of psychology, University of Essex.

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