Michael Bourn (Letters, December 7) suggests that the annual average earnings figure for "all professionals" from the Government's Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings is not relevant in making comparisons of academics' pay. He cites a survey of members of the Chartered Institute of Accountants (ICAEW). Perhaps it needs to be made clearer that an average is exactly that - an average of all professions in a survey. Some professional occupations covered by the ASHE are paid more than the average and some less. Almost 40 per cent of the respondents to the ICAEW survey were working at board level and it included CEOs, managing directors and finance directors. A comparison on a proper statistical basis - comparing data collected on higher education teaching professionals and chartered and certified accountants in the same survey - may clarify relative values.
The 2007 ASHE, based on employers' PAYE records, shows that accountants' average annual earnings were £39,589 - behind the figure of £42,620 for higher education teachers and significantly short of the substantial figure quoted in the letter.
Chief executive, Universities and Colleges Employers Association.