Market forces bring wide pay variations

September 3, 2004

How does your university compare with others in the salary stakes? An exclusive analysis of figures by The Times Higher reveals for the first time the wide discrepancies in average academic salaries offered by different institutions.

The statistics reflect the range of factors that contribute to average academic pay at an institution. These include the proportion of young, low-paid postdoctoral researchers and highly paid clinical academics at each institution, the number of female academics and the uplift in salary for London-based staff.

There are, nonetheless, surprising variations, suggesting the influence of market forces as universities break away from nationally agreed pay scales to offer more for new talent. By contrast, some universities - such as Oxford and Cambridge - are able to lure staff with lower salaries for the privilege of working at institutions with great reputations.

Two of the country's most prestigious universities are among those offering the lowest average salaries for full-time academics in the higher education sector.

Imperial College London paid full-time academics an average of £29,982 in 2002-03, while Oxford University recorded an average of £31,000. This placed them among the five lowest payers in a table compiled from data gathered by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. The figures for full-time staff include pay for clinical academics. Cambridge University also features in the bottom ten of the table, paying an average of £31,498.

A spokeswoman for Imperial said its strong international reputation attracted a high level of research funding. Consequently, it employed far more postdoctoral researchers than most universities, affecting the overall average salary. "Imperial recognises that improving pay is crucial to our ability to recruit and retain the best academic staff," she said.

"We have significantly improved pay for lecturers and professors by making adjustments to the minimum pay of lecturers, the maximum pay of senior lecturers and readers, and the minimum pay of professors."

Only two universities paid average salaries lower than Imperial's - Glasgow Caledonian paid £28,654 and Bradford £28,932.

Average salaries at 24 institutions fell into a band between £33,000 and £34,000 a year. At 21 institutions, salaries were between £32,000 and £33,000.

At the other end of the scale, the London Business School, which provides expensive MBAs and other courses to the industrial elite, offered an average salary of £99,524. If this anomalous figure is omitted, the London School of Economics offered the highest average pay at £41,656, reflecting in part the absence of postdoctoral scientists at the institution.

Many LSE job advertisements state that salary will be determined by the director, suggesting that a number of appointments are made outside national academic pay scales. The LSE may be able to do so because it generates substantial income from the large number of foreign students who pay high tuition fees.

Oxford Brookes University had the ninth highest average salary, £36,857, almost £6,000 more than Oxford. Bob Price, Oxford Brookes' director of human resources, said it had about 77 contract researchers, far fewer than Oxford's 4,000. Some 60 per cent of its staff had been there for five years or more, he added.

Another unexpected entrant in the top ten was Greenwich University, with an average salary of £37,064, just behind Cranfield University and University College London. A Greenwich spokesperson said the number of senior academic managers had been cut and there were some 445 senior and principal lecturers and professors.

The figures underline claims that academic salaries have fallen 40 per cent behind those of other professions in recent years. Roger Kline of lecturers' union Natfhe said the battle was still to be won. Lecturers in fields such as law and accounting were far behind their counterparts who practised in the corporate sector, and even senior managers in schools earned considerably more than academics. He said that academics, whose average age is higher than that of the general population, expected that their salaries should be similarly above average.

Academics v other professionals
Average salaries for April 2003

Medical prcatitioners

£66,474

Lawyer / solicitor

£49,338

Accountant

£36,351

Academic

£33,931

Secondary school teacher

£30,515

Source: Office for National Statistics and the Higher Education Statistics Agency

The average salaries also hide the plight of the thousands of lecturers employed on hourly contracts. "No other profession is so reliant on casual staff as higher education. It's akin to the building industry," Mr Kline added.

Average salaries at many institutions can be expected to rise slightly in 2003-04, in view of pay increases and drives to recruit more top-flight academics.

Average salaries among full-time academic staff (including clinical staff) in UK universities 2002-03

Institution

Female

Male

Total

% difference
between the sexes

London Business School

£81,013

£102,768

£99,524

21.2

LSE

£35,539

£44,534

£41,656

20.2

City

£36,742

£41,972

£39,647

12.5

King's College

£33,107

£41,342

£37,762

19.9

UCL

£31,954

£41,100

£37,642

22.3

Cranfield

£32,076

£38,475

£37,256

16.6

Greenwich

£35,455

£37,893

£37,064

6.4

Westminster

£35,425

£37,868

£37,026

6.5

Oxford Brookes

£35,349

£37,882

£36,857

6.7

Open University

£35,234

£37,544

£36,575

6.2

South Bank

£35,154

£37,486

£36,486

6.2

Queen Mary

£33,192

£38,383

£36,479

13.5

Aston

£30,693

£38,557

£36,347

20.4

Thames Valley

£35,078

£37,172

£36,161

5.6

Royal Holloway

£32,814

£37,751

£36,060

13.1

Glasgow

£30,323

£39,102

£35,987

22.5

Kingston

£35,471

£36,056

£35,831

1.6

Leicester

£28,979

£38,182

£35,430

24.1

Essex

£30,795

£37,770

£35,343

18.5

Edinburgh

£29,548

£38,267

£35,342

22.8

Newcastle

£29,228

£37,875

£35,180

22.8

Lancaster

£30,638

£36,775

£35,134

16.7

Hull

£32,340

£36,264

£35,030

10.8

Bristol

£29,142

£37,6

£34,952

22.6

Nottingham Trent

£31,856

£36,283

£34,808

12.2

Salford

£32,997

£35,819

£34,776

7.9

Queen's Belfast

£30,9

£36,976

£34,724

18.1

Anglia Polytechnic

£33,8

£35,205

£34,620

3.9

Paisley

£33,006

£35,8

£34,443

6.4

Leeds

£30,233

£36,136

£34,378

16.3

West of England

£32,991

£35,284

£34,369

6.5

Kent

£29,440

£36,367

£34,333

19.0

Surrey, Roehampton

£33,009

£35,584

£34,1

7.2

Stirling

£31,991

£35,624

£34,249

10.2

Liverpool

£29,258

£36,518

£34,214

19.9

Strathclyde

£30,562

£35,525

£34,170

14.0

Birmingham

£29,486

£36,516

£34,160

19.3

Warwick

£30,086

£36,037

£34,143

16.5

Loughborough

£30,437

£35,082

£34,050

13.2

Ulster

£30,372

£36,026

£34,009

15.7

Keele

£30,106

£36,312

£33,963

17.1

Middlesex

£31,987

£35,452

£33,952

9.8

Plymouth

£30,428

£35,643

£33,911

14.6

Hertfordshire

£32,369

£35,181

£33,860

8.0

De Montfort

£32,030

£34,759

£33,856

7.9

Sheffield

£29,875

£35,853

£33,843

16.7

Luton

£31,643

£35,193

£33,741

10.1

Leeds Metropolitan

£32,794

£34,285

£33,729

4.3

Brighton

£32,404

£34,678

£33,720

6.6

East London

£31,612

£35,203

£33,718

10.2

Brunel

£31,599

£34,760

£33,673

9.1

Surrey

£30,763

£35,161

£33,643

12.5

St Andrews

£,307

£35,634

£33,515

23.4

Southampton

£29,690

£35,167

£33,443

15.6

Aberdeen

£28,538

£36,511

£33,391

21.8

Huddersfield

£31,546

£34,264

£33,288

7.9

Liverpool John Moores

£32,042

£33,912

£33,285

5.5

Wales, Swansea

£29,016

£34,935

£33,261

16.9

Bath

£28,406

£34,890

£33,203

18.6

Dundee

£28,448

£36,239

£33,202

21.5

Cardiff

£,619

£35,821

£33,189

22.9

Manchester

£28,548

£35,739

£33,132

20.1

Nottingham

£28,934

£35,064

£33,097

17.5

Abertay Dundee

£30,501

£34,408

£33,070

11.4

Birkbeck College

£31,356

£34,015

£32,999

7.8

Exeter

£28,649

£34,788

£32,924

17.6

Staffordshire

£31,284

£33,804

£32,920

7.5

Durham

£29,597

£33,956

£32,863

12.8

Portsmouth

£29,585

£34,357

£32,753

13.9

Sheffield Hallam

£30,846

£33,778

£32,747

8.7

Wales, Lampeter

£,258

£36,157

£32,742

24.6

Robert Gordon

£31,103

£33,875

£32,722

8.2

Sunderland

£31,168

£33,508

£32,719

7.0

Gloucestershire

£31,050

£33,621

£32,711

7.6

Sussex

£29,869

£33,973

£32,708

12.1

Heriot-Watt

£28,139

£33,766

£32,697

16.7

Wolverhampton

£30,893

£33,844

£32,609

8.7

UMIST

£28,110

£33,797

£32,593

16.8

Napier

£31,508

£33,055

£32,506

4.7

Central Lancashire

£30,981

£33,484

£32,451

7.5

Reading

£,709

£34,669

£32,345

20.1

Northumbria

£31,022

£33,097

£32,244

6.3

Wales, Bangor

£28,022

£34,526

£32,199

18.8

East Anglia

£28,816

£34,155

£32,174

15.6

York

£28,511

£33,667

£32,084

15.3

Lincoln

£29,404

£33,193

£31,896

11.4

Bournemouth

£29,869

£32,905

£31,772

9.2

Teesside

£30,506

£32,622

£31,721

6.5

Coventry

£29,383

£33,0

£31,719

11.0

Central England

£30,366

£32,134

£31,522

5.5

Cambridge

£,439

£33,473

£31,498

18.0

Wales, Aberystwyth

£26,773

£33,309

£31,487

19.6

Manchester Metropolitan

£29,360

£32,610

£31,344

10.0

Glamorgan

£28,867

£32,190

£31,108

10.3

Oxford

£,331

£32,857

£31,000

16.8

Derby

£29,126

£31,077

£30,3

6.3

Imperial College

£24,952

£32,260

£29,982

22.7

Bradford

£,117

£29,845

£28,932

9.1

Glasgow Caledonian

£25,892

£30,848

£28,654

16.1

Related story
Women suffer £5K pay gap

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