Heads enjoy 100% rise in pay over ten years

February 25, 2005

Pay for university heads has doubled over the past ten years, according to a comparison of this year's top academic earners with those from a decade ago.

The average salary for the 20 highest-paid vice-chancellors was just shy of £100,000 in the first table of vice-chancellors' pay, published a decade ago by The Times Higher .

The latest figures reveal an average salary of £210,000 among the top 20 earners.

These ten-year increases are broadly similar to those for other public-sector leaders but are dwarfed by the pay hikes for chief executives in the private sector, which are estimated to have risen by 25 per cent a year.

Pay for lecturers, meanwhile, has increased by 35-40 per cent over the decade.

When The Times Higher published its first rankings in 1995, 84 institutions opted to disclose information, a year before it became compulsory. Of these, the vast majority were colleges of higher education and new universities. Nevertheless, the top of the table was dominated by old universities.

University College London topped the table, with Queen Mary Westfield, Reading, Leicester and Surrey universities in the top ten. Four new universities appeared in the top 20.

A decade on, the pattern remains the same.

Among the 20 highest-paid vice-chancellors, three are from new universities: Leeds Metropolitan, Nottingham Trent and London Metropolitan.

Of nine vice-chancellors who remain from the first table, the biggest winner has been Brian Roper, vice-chancellor of London Metropolitan University, which was created from the merger of the University of North London and London Guildhall University.

In 1994, Dr Roper earned £84,888, including the university's contribution to his pension. A decade later - and excluding the university's contribution to his pension - he earned £190,000, a rise of 124 per cent over the decade and up 13 per cent on last year. The university's accounts show that Roderick Floud received £148,000 for eight months' full-time work as vice-chancellor and four months' part-time work as president of the university. The university's contribution to his pension rocketed from £14,000 to £118,000 this year.

The rises in these two pay packages come as heads of department at the university have been asked to look for job cuts because the institution has failed to meet internal financial targets. Academics will be offered voluntary redundancy and there will be "targeted reductions" in non-academic staff.

Sir Martin Harris, previously vice-chancellor of Manchester University and now director of the Office for Fair Access, saw his pay almost double from Pounds 89,000 to £173,000 over the decade.

This year's table highlights the increasing number of academics earning significant salaries.

One medic at University College London earns more than £250,000, and at Queen Mary, University of London, 15 staff are paid more than the vice-chancellor.

At Keele University, the emolument of the highest-paid senior post holder was £265,000.

But the dramatic rise in the number of academics earning more than Pounds 100,000 at four Scottish universities owes more to new National Health Service consultant contracts than to an effort to recruit international researchers.

An element of performance-related pay contributed to the package for several vice-chancellors this year.

Michael Wright of Aston University received £20,000 in performance-related pay and a further £2,000 for the previous year.

London South Bank's Deian Hopkin earned £11,000 in performance-related incentive pay; Steven Schwartz of Brunel University also received this sum. Malcolm McVicar of the University of Central Lancaster got a £10,000 bonus on top of his £140,000 salary.

alison.goddard@thes.co.uk

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