You report that full-time academics earned an average of £42,620 in April 2007 ("Average academic's pay moves ahead to £42K", November 16) while the "average professional salary" is £38,340.
Look instead at a real major competitor to academe for highly qualified people, the accountancy profession. Consultants Robert Half's recent Career Benchmarking Survey 2007 covers a sample of 3,157 accounting professionals, and it reports: "On average (chartered accountants) receive a basic salary of £K79 plus an average bonus of £K29, giving an average total income of £K108."
It also gives ten sector analyses. The highest average total incomes were £1,000 in banking (289 people) and £125,000 in financial services (769 people). The least rewarding were still more than twice the average academic income.
It is long since the time when the Universities and Colleges Employers Association should have left cloud-cuckoo land and joined the competitive real world. It should at least be expressing regret at academic income levels.
Michael Bourn, Winchester.