Pay misconceptions 2

January 12, 2007

I am not an economist, so perhaps that is why I am perplexed at the ubiquity of the phrase "market forces" in higher education, invariably used to justify the inflated salaries of senior academic managers.

I do not understand the logic that says that academics who a few years ago were teaching Plato or Puff Daddy to rooms of students strikingly less crowded than they are today are now "worth" £60,000 a year once given a title such as "pro vice-dean (excellence)".

This is nonsense so absolute that Plato could have used it. So could the rock group Queen; after all, it's a kind of magic.

Surely the phrase "market forces" has little relevance within the university's cloistered walls - certainly, every university in the UK would be awarded a starred first for spending money; sadly, the market does rather insist that earning money is an essential prerequisite for spending it.

The vast bulk of a univer-sity's revenue, however, is snatched from the taxpayer's pocket. It is ludicrous to argue that a university must bend to market forces and pay the newly appointed sub pro vice-director (research assessment exercise) £73,000 a year. Where is the market for this job, and hundreds like it, outside higher education?

When universities want to cut their spending (always), they simply cut the number of teaching staff. What would be much more useful, to everybody but the overpaid senior management themselves, is to readjust these salaries and use the windfall to support teaching and research.

Kevin McCarron

Please login or register to read this article.

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most commented

Recent controversy over the future directions of both Stanford and Melbourne university presses have raised questions about the role of in-house publishing arms in a world of commercialisation, impact agendas, alternative facts – and ever-diminishing monograph sales. Anna McKie reports

3 October


Featured jobs

SETsquared Centre Director

University Of Bristol

Lecturer in Maritime Law, Teaching only

Liverpool John Moores University

AcoRD Officer

University Of Leeds

Marketing and Communication Manager

Heriot-watt University