Premier-league pay

April 9, 1999

Re "The curse of high aspirations", THES, March 12, and "Hard times for dismal science", THES, March 26). If university lecturers' lives are to be as pressured as those of management trainees at IBM, pay levels will have to rise.

I favour raising pay dramatically for young people (in a few disciplines to, say, Pounds 40,000 at age 30) and making it clear to entrants that university life is going to be tough throughout their lives. Pay across the ranks, however, would be reasonably flat. The high wage for junior staff would encourage people to do PhDs.

What is happening now on the quiet is that pay inequality is rising because of rises at the top. As in professional football, this encourages entrants to university teaching by offering them a tiny chance at a large prize. There will eventually be a cohort of hugely paid star professors. Other academics will be paid very badly.

Andrew J. Oswald. Professor of economics. Warwick University

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