The latest storm to hit the universities in the UK is the fact that academicians are making more than £600,000 to the year while other members of the staff have had to deal with pay cuts. The pay packet and perks of vice-chancellors of various industries have spiraled “completely out of control” as put by a university union.
Recent requests for freedom of information by Daily Mail and the TaxPayers’ Alliance revealed that no less than 7,500 staff at UK universities had an income that exceeded £100,000 while professors and vice-chancellors made more than £600,000 per year for themselves.
The details reveal that many of these high pay officials work at universities that rely on undergraduate tuition fees for their income. One may cite the example of Neil Gorman who is the vice-chancellor of the Nottingham Trent University. He was paid £623,000 which was inclusive of a bonus of £250,000. Malcolm Gillies who was formerly the VC of London Metropolitan University made £618,000 which includes about £159,000 that was paid to him when he left.
This stands in stark contrast to the pay settlements and pay cuts of ordinary university staff. There is also growing insecurity among academic staff with more than a third of academics being present on non-permanent contracts. The revelations should come as a rather embarrassment to UK academics as higher education comes increasingly under the microscope amidst calls for equality by academics.
Transparency remains a key demand of students unions as students struggle to cope with debt that continues to rise due to unreasonable tuition fees and the ever increasing costs of living.
The explanation provided by universities is that the pay rates were necessary to retain and attract academics in a global market driven by fierce competition especially if they were in the domain of medicine or finance.
The revelations come in the wake of a new green paper regarding higher education which found publication the previous week and was rife in suggestions that universities will remain beyond the purview of the proposed legislation regarding freedom of information so that the universities are spared the ignominy of the revelation of such embarrassing facts.