See how your uni Vice Chancellor’s pay compares to everyone else’s

The country’s highest-paid uni boss is currently doing talks in Davos, obvs

The country’s highest paid uni chief is picking up £1,500 a day in pay whilst giving talks to the super-elite in Davos, as spiralling Vice Chancellor pay has led the head of the UCU to say the salaries “expose how out of touch those at top of our institutions really are.”

Imperial College London’s Alice Gast got a bumper pay package of £554,000 last year, placing her top of the table of VC pay, The Tab can reveal.

Our analysis has found that 60 per cent of uni chiefs saw their pay increase in the 2018/19 academic year, with VCs taking home an average of nearly £350,000.

However, Vice Chancellors are wising up. Perhaps sensitive to the PR perils of ballooning boardroom salaries whilst staff strike in courtyards for better pay, some VCs decline salary increases. Reading’s new VC requested a salary below what was recommended, whilst the heads of Oxford Brookes and King’s College London also voluntarily froze their pay.

Top of the table is Imperial College London’s President Alice Gast. The Houston-born scientist took a bit of a pay cut in 2018/19, owing to the increased cost of maintaining her official residence last year, but was still compensated to the tune of £554,00. Part of this is the £115,000 Imperial estimate they could receive from renting out her official residence, in South Kensington.

Alongside running the uni, Gast also holds down a few other jobs. She gets $375,000 a year for serving on the board of oil and gas giant Chevron – although won’t get this until she retires from the board. Imperial says “these memberships benefit the College by fostering international collaboration, enhancing its global reputation and strengthening ties with industry.”

Gast flies out to speak at the World Economic Forum in Davos each year, and in 2018 told the FT: “Transparency is welcome. I’m surprised by all the focus on money. I do my job because I’m passionate about it.” Gast’s trip to Davos that year cost the uni an additional £2,321.66 in expenses.

£50,000 behind Gast is Dame Minouche Shafik, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, who cost LSE £491,000. Stephen Toope, Cambridge’s Vice Chancellor, is compensated £475,000, including personal flight travel costing £19,143.

Not to be confused with the floppy-haired Irish comedian, King’s College London’s Ed Byrne, who turns down bonuses and requests his salary be frozen, is the fourth best paid in the country, taking home £455,000. Oxford’s Louise Richardson rounds of the top five with a £452,000 pay packet. Tragically, a £61,000 bonus isn’t enough to catapult Birmingham’s Sir David Eastwood into the top five and he misses out by £2,000.

How much is your Vice Chancellor paid? Find out below?

All unis justify paying their leaders hundreds of thousands with similar reasons – that they’re huge, world leading organisations, making a massive contribution to society, which need bold leaders.

However, as the salaries continue to increase, uni staff are becoming increasingly angry. University and College Union general secretary Jo Grady said: “The largesse of vice-chancellors’ pay and perks have been a continued source of embarrassment for the university sector and exposed how out of touch those at top of our institutions really are.

“At a time when staff pay has been held down, insecure contracts have become more common, pensions have been attacked and nothing done to address inequalities vice-chancellors continued to accept inflation-busting pay deals, max out expense accounts and enjoy rent-free accommodation.

“Staff have had enough and that is why they walked out on strike before Christmas, and are prepared to do so again if vice-chancellors continue to deny them fair pay and decent conditions.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Meet the lecturers going on strike, and find out how to get involved

Exeter lecturers speak out on why they’re striking

UCL’s outsourced workers go on the biggest strike in Education History