The academic fat cats: Vice-chancellors at Britain's top universities get £22,000 pay rises – as lecturers are stuck on 1 per cent

Unions angered that average vice-chancellor pay rose 8.1 per cent while regular staff received a one per cent rise

Vice-chancellors of the UK’s top universities pocketed average pay rises of £22,000 last year – while insisting their employees stuck to just a one per cent increase.

A survey showed the Russell Group universities - which represents 24 of the most selective higher education institutions in the country – awarded pay rises of 8.1 per cent on average to their vice-chancellors while overall benefits packages also soared by 5.2 per cent.

In many cases, argued union leaders, the rises themselves were more than the annual salary of their staff - now locked in a pay dispute after rejecting a one per cent pay offer.

The findings angered university union leaders, who warned of the prospect of more industrial action on campuses once term resumes later this month.

Haydn Morris, of the Unite union - which represents science technicians, administrators and management staff in universities, said on Thursday: “This smacks of rank hypocrisy - given that university staff have endured a six-year pay drought which has seen a 13 per cent cut in pay real terms since 2008.

Read more:

We need more wage rises at the lower end of the scale  

“On the day that the cost of living crisis has again been highlighted by the leap in rail fares, the university bosses are lining their own substantial pockets while those staff that keep Britain in the top ten world university league table struggle to make ends meet.”

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, added: “It is the startling hypocrisy that grates more than the actual rises.

“Many vice-chancellors have talked down to their staff and told them to accept a one per cent rise - representing another real terms pay cut - as it is the best they can expect, while happily pocketing big sums themselves.

“Few people have ever bought the lie that we are all in this together but these revelations are as insulting as they are unfair.

“With further disruption set for the New Year if this dispute is unresolved, these controversial rises will galvanise union members who are determined to fight for high pay.”

Rises for the 19 Russell Group members who replied to a survey by the Times Higher Education magazine included £20,000 extra for Cambridge University vice-chancellor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz.  It brought his remuneration package up to £334,000.  Don Nutbeam, of Southampton University was awarded £19,015 extra - bringing his package up to £333, 515.

Craig Colhoun, newly appointed director of the London School of Economics, received £466,000 - although £88,000 of this was to pay for his relocation from the United States.  That compares to £285,000 for his predecessor Sir Howard Davies in his last year at the LSE.

David Eastwood, of Birmingham University, had the highest declared basic salary of £400,000 - up £28,000 from last year.  However, his overall remuneration package was down from £406,000 the previous year as he no longer received pension payments.

The rises were not confined to Russell Group universities either, according to THE, with Steve West of the University of the West of Englasnd seeing his package rise by £52, 434 to £314, 632 - including a £24,158 performance bonus.

University employers were quick to defend the rises as essential in ensuring they attracted the high calibre staff necessary to defend the UK’s position as a world-class higher education provider.

“The salaries of vice-chancellors and other senior staff at our universities reflect their roles leading extremely complex, international organisations with annual turnovers of more than half a billion pounds on average,” said Dr Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group.

“The success of our universities benefits Britain and is vital for growth: collectively they contribute more than £30 billion to the economy every year. The independent remuneration committees which decide these salaries are acutely aware that the continued global success of these institutions requires world-class leadership and academic talent, particularly through tough economic times.”

She added: “Our vice-chancellors still earn significantly less than their counterparts in the United States or Australia despite running equally or, in some cases, more successful universities.  For example, 46 colleges in the US paid their vice-chancellors over $1,000,000 (£640,000) in 2011 and the average salary amongst the eight research intensive universities of Australia was more than A$900,000 (£613,000) in 2012.”

Dr Piatt continued: “We will continue to work closely with staff and unions to ensure that we provide competitive but sustainable pay and conditions for our highly valued staff.”

So far union leaders have called two days of strike action over their pay claim - and lecturers are also currently engaged in a work-to-rule.  Members of Unison, Unite and the Educational Institute of Scotland have also staged walk-outs and it was being said last night that more action is likely this year if there is not a swift settlement to the dispute.

Seats of earning: the top five salaries

Craig Calhoun

The newly appointed director of the London School of Economics has bagged a £466,000-a-year package – although £88,000 was for relocation from the US. His predecessor Sir Howard Davies earned £285,000 in his last year.

David Eastwood

The Birmingham University vice-chancellor has the highest declared basic salary – £400,000 – up from £372,000 the previous year. 

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz

The vice-chancellor of Cambridge University had his pay packet boosted by £20,000 to £334,000.

Don Nutbeam

The Southampton University vice-chancellor’s salary went up by £19,015 to an overall package of £333, 515.

Sir Malcolm Grant

The outgoing provost of University College London, his package shot up £41,077 to £365,432 – but this included a 10 per cent reduction volunteered by Sir Malcolm in 2010.

Suggested Topics
News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

Arts and Entertainment
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

English Teacher- Manchester

£19200 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes