V-c pay levels reflect impact of policy decisions

August 3, 2017

It is difficult to say whether the recent criticisms of vice-chancellors’ salaries by Jo Johnson, the universities minister, and Lord Adonis, the former education minister (“Who has final say on pay?”, Leader, 27 July), represent hypocrisy or ignorance.

Vice-chancellors’ remuneration has indeed risen far more quickly than that of other university staff in recent years. This is fundamentally the result of the efforts of governments since the mid-1980s to turn universities into private commercial entities. Government-led attempts to make university governance more like corporate governance, with a majority of governors drawn from commercial backgrounds, have also contributed.

While the ratio of vice-chancellors’ salaries to lecturers’ pay is still nowhere near those in the private sector, the same processes can be observed here that have led to grotesque differentials in many large companies. More competition from private providers, the teaching excellence framework and so on will only make matters worse.

Johnson and Adonis are or were members of governments that pursued these policies. Perhaps a decent silence on their part, or even a moment of reflection, would be appropriate at this point?

Roger Brown
Emeritus professor of higher education policy, Liverpool Hope University
Former vice-chancellor, Southampton Solent University

Send to

Letters should be sent to: THE.Letters@tesglobal.com
Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday.
View terms and conditions.

Please login or register to read this article

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments