From poor pay to flexible fees 1

May 13, 2005

Your article "Top-ups may fund pay rises" (May 6) implies that students from disadvantaged backgrounds will be getting a raw deal if the extra cash is largely used to attract and keep tip-top academic staff by paying salaries that get closer to those typical of the commercial sector.

Fortunately for UK plc, there have in the past been many tip-top people who have been willing to sacrifice high levels of monetary gain to take advantage of the perceived benefits of working in an academic environment. However, there are already academic subject areas where staff recruitment is virtually impossible and where the level of pay is an obvious factor.

If the demographic retirement time-bomb arising from university sector expansion in the Sixties and Seventies and hanging over us now increases the need for recruitment in all subject areas in the near-future, what inducements could be offered to those who might enter the profession? No longer will these include a non-pressured environment in which to think and explore ideas that advance knowledge, or the pleasure (and privilege) of teaching the elite, whatever their background. Inducements will need to include acceptable levels of pay.

Ian Reid
Loughborough University

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