Better balance on fellows’ pay is needed

Jack May 19 November 2015

It is not for this newspaper – or indeed for anyone other than the more radical portions of the radical left – to advocate stripping anyone of their salary.

It’s a reasonably self-evident fact that the way the world currently works means that the best people are going to be attracted to a place of employment partly based on the renumeration they are to receive.

That’s how humanity works under the capitalist system, and this newspaper has no immediate intention to call for radical socialist revolution, despite Jeremy Corbyn’s best intentions.

That being said, some of the salaries revealed this week are somewhat disproportionate.

For many fellows, life is not so luxuriant. It may be true that many of them enjoy favourable dining rights at colleges, and are fortunate enough to drink fabulous wine at candelit tables. However, the reality is that for many fellows – particularly those in the junior ranks – they could be living much more comfortably in any of the other graduate sectors into which Cambridge alumni enter.

To provide a more equitable system, and a more enticing prospect for graduates, the University should be trying to bolster the pay of those at the bottom end of the academic foodchain, ensuring that none are put off the further study associated.

This should be done in the place of topping up the already egregious wages of those at the higher rungs, whose renumeration is currently far beyond what can reasonably be expected of an academic salary.

Such high salaries are no problem out of context, but situated in the climate of pay in the higher education sector, more consideration is needed.