World's finest? V-cs, prove you're worth it 4

April 8, 2010

While the numbers in the average salary tables published last week may well be accurate, the information content of the tables is low, if not zero.

Having first discarded the distortions for London allowances and medical schools, I was reflecting on why Durham University, along with Oxford and Cambridge universities, came so low in the league table. It is because of the low average salary of academics who are "not professors", ie, the majority of staff.

Research-intensive universities have large numbers of early-career postdoctoral research assistants who are close to the bottom of the salary ladder. To compare average salaries of very different types of institution in this way is akin to comparing chalk and cheese.

Brian Tanner, Dean of knowledge transfer and professor of physics, Durham University.

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