Your article "Far East academics top of the pay scales" (THES, June ) provided interesting information on comparative salaries of academic staff based on a survey of seven countries.
Pay scales alone may provide only a partial picture as the wage system may differ from country to country. For example, in the case of the universities in Singapore, the wage system includes other components in addition to the pay scales payable in line with the government's wage adjustment in the public sector. This flexi-wage system which was introduced in 1988, provides the link between wages, economic growth and productivity gains. In the past six years, the amount paid each year to our academic staff under these components was equivalent to three months of their gross salaries.
As an illustration, the survey report mentioned that the average salaries earned by an associate professor (or equivalent) at the bottom of the scale were $102,345 in Hong Kong, $85,380 in Singapore, $50,861 in Australia, $50,640 in New Zealand, $46,000 in United Kingdom, $43,252 in Canada and $21,600 in South Africa (currencies in US dollars). The annual salary earned by an associate professor at the bottom of the scale in Singapore in 1996 was actually about $106,725. Salaries for the other positions in the Singapore universities are also inaccurate.
Lun Chor Yee Director of personnel Nanyang Technological University, Singapore