Research shows that we need the best people to lead our organisations. That’s top researchers heading universities, outstanding doctors heading hospitals, great teachers heading schools and so on. In a meritocratic society, the best in any field can be expected to receive the highest remuneration.
Hence, anyone already at the top of their game in academia will naturally cost more than an average person when shifting into the position of vice-chancellor. The Big Four consulting firms follow this rule exactly: only the best consultants make the top jobs, and only after years of commitment. As these firms earn about 20 per cent of their money from the public sector (the NHS spent £580 million on consulting firms in 2014-15), maybe the universities minister could look at what senior partners make as a guide for vice-chancellors’ pay.
We do want the best people to lead, don’t we? Or is the noise about vice-chancellors’ pay just one big political diversion?
Cass Business School