10 January 2013
Commenting on reports about university leaders’ pay, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:
"Our Vice-Chancellors and other senior staff lead complex multi-million pound organisations that succeed on a global stage.
“This success benefits Britain and is vital for growth. Russell Group institutions contribute tens of billions of pounds to the UK economy. First-rate leadership and academic talent are crucial if our universities are to continue to excel in a challenging economic climate.
“In view of the ongoing financial challenges that universities are facing, many vice-chancellors agreed to only very modest increases, pay freezes or even pay cuts in recent years. In 2010-11 the average Russell Group Vice-Chancellor pay increase was lower than UK inflation and the country’s average pay rise.
“Universities are autonomous institutions and Vice-Chancellor pay is decided by independent University Remuneration Committees which include expert representatives from outside the sector. These experts understand the importance of attracting and retaining experienced individuals who can demonstrate the highest calibre of leadership.
"Our international rivals recognise the importance of attracting the very best university leaders and academics, and continue to increase compensation. For example 39 US universities pay their heads more than $1 million (£650,000) and the average salary for the heads of Australia’s Group of Eight research-intensive universities is over £635,000, vastly exceeding the pay of their UK counterparts.
“That Russell Group universities continue to punch well above their weight on the international stage despite being under-resourced in comparison with their international competitors is in large part testimony to the quality of their leadership.”
Notes for editors:
The most recent THE data for the whole sector shows the average Russell Group Vice-Chancellor’s pay and benefits declined while the sector average increased.