Do v-cs deserve a PM's salary? 1

February 14, 2003

Andrew Oswald relates vice-chancellors' pay (Soapbox, THES , February 7) to that of chief executives in business and industry, where rates can be as high as £500,000 to £1 million a year.

Most people regard such salaries as grossly inflated. The term "industry fat cat" springs to mind.

Universities, however, are not-for-profit organisations, so why compare them to the commercial sector?

A more reasonable comparison might be the prime minister's salary, which is about £172,000 a year, only some £40,000 more than the average v-c's pay cheque. There cannot be many tougher jobs in the non-commercial sector than the prime minister's. Surely no v-c's work and remit exceed that of the government.

Oswald's argument is predicated on acceptance of commercial executives' salaries as reasonable. But to extend that to public-sector salaries would bankrupt the nation.

I suppose we should be grateful that the v-cs displayed continence in limiting their pay rises to an average 6.1 per cent.

Gary F. Baxter
London N4

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