Fair play on fair pay? 1

September 10, 2004

I normally have no objection to league tables where City University is in the top group, such as yours on average academic salaries (News, September 3). If this is true I am pleased - high performers should be paid in relation to what they bring to the university. But your statistics are useless for any meaningful purpose.

Universities do not have the same subject mixes or ratios of lecturers to readers to professors. In salary and other terms, universities with medical schools are different from those without them; like it or not, salaries in good business schools are different from those in equally good departments of theology. Your averages reflect structural factors, not what each university pays for the job.

Your table shows differences between average salaries for men and women.

Differential salaries based solely on gender are unacceptable and illegal.

But the figures you show should have taken account of salary levels in different disciplines, market supplements, time in the job and other factors. British higher education is good at research. Surely you can do better than this?

David Rhind
Vice-chancellor, City University

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