University staff’s £300,000 payslips revealed

Stevie Hertz 19 November 2015

New research has revealed that Cambridge University has six employees who earned over £300,000 in 2013/14. The research, conducted by The TaxPayers’ Alliance, a rightwing pressure group, also shows that 387 University staff receive over £100,000. 
Cambridge had the fourth greatest number of staff paid over £100,000 in the UK. Oxford had the most, paying 622 people over £100,000.

Through a series of Freedom of Information requests, the research, published in The Public Sector Rich List shows that more than 7,500 university staff across the country earn more than £100,000. 

The highest paid university official was at the University of Oxford, who earned £690,000. It has three other members of staff among the top 20 best paid. Meanwhile, the highest paid staff member at Cambridge earned just over £400,000, making them the 20th best paid member of university staff in Britain.

A spokesperson for Cambridge University told Cambridge News: “The staff represented in the figures given to The TaxPayers’ Alliance include senior academics and clinical academics … Staff are paid within an agreed payment framework and the remuneration described by the figures include employer’s pension contributions, one-off payments for taking on extra responsibilities as well as salary.”

However, the general secretary of the University and College Union, which represents academics, Sally Hunt, said, “UCU has said for many years that the salaries and benefits enjoyed by vice-chancellors are embarrassing and completely out of control, as this new report reaffirms.

“As staff pay continues to fall in real terms and many academics are stuck in insecure contracts, inflation-busting salary increases at the top show that vice-chancellors are sadly out of touch.”

However, a spokesperson from Oxford University argued that the high salaries were necessary, saying “Oxford is a global leader for research and teaching … To stay there, and ideally to go up one place, we need to keep attracting exceptional minds, who are also highly sought-after by our international competitors. We recruit and retain the very best, and reward their talent appropriately’’.

One second-year student, Anthony Bridgen, agreed, saying: “It depends who they are paying it to – they might be worth it.”
However, Soranna Vieru, vice-president of the National Union of Students, disagreed, saying “It is deeply unfair for vice-chancellors to be taking home enormous pay packets while students are struggling to cope with spiralling debt thanks to exorbitant tuition fees and the soaring cost of living.”

Additionally, in 2012/13, the year before the data was gathered, the vice-chancellors of the Russell Group universities took an average pay rise of £22,000. The universities on average awarded 8.1% pay increases, while over all benefit packages rose by 5.2%.

At the time, Cambridge’s vice-chancellor Leszek Borysiewicz responded to a Times Higher Education survey saying he had received a £20,000 pay rise, bringing his remuneration package to £334,000.

However, salaries for British vice-chancellors are still less than their foreign counterparts. In 2011, 46 colleges in America paid their vice-chancellors over $1,000,000 (around £640,000). Similarly, among eight Australian research universities in 2012 the average vice-chancellor salary was A$900,000 (around £613,000).