Tab investigation finds that, shock, Vice Chancellors are still minted

This year, the highest earning VC pocketed £461k


The top 40 universities payed their Vice Chancellors and Principals on average a record 12 times the median wage of a university staff member, with some receiving pay rises of over £140,000, an investigation by The Tab has revealed.

In light of lecturers and seminar teachers leading protests over changes in pension pay, Vice Chancellors of the UK's top universities have been getting vast pay rises.

The Russell Group splurged the most for their head honchos, with King's College London spending upwards of £460,000 on their Principal Edward Bryne. We examined the 2017/18 financial statements of 41 top British universities to find out how much they were treating their top dogs.

This is what we found:

– On average, pay in the Russell Group is falling. But only just.

– VC pay at some unis is almost 13 times what the average member of staff earns.

– King's College London's Edward Byrne was paid a total of £461,000, the highest in our study.

Some pay rises are smashing £100k

After LSE's Nemat Shafik took over in 2017, her pay shot up £131,000 from her predecessor's, to a total of £405,000.

In the university's financial statements, the pay is justified by "the profile of the Director and the internationally competitive leadership position that the School plays in the social sciences", as well as the cost of living in central London.

Her move into running a uni saw her pocket over £40,000 more than she did as one of the Bank of England's head honchos. In 2015/16, Shafik was paid a total of £362, 231 for her role as a Deputy Director of the Bank of England.

Meanwhile, Hull, Cambridge, and St Andrews all increased the amount their VC took home by over £20,000.

On the other side of things, a couple of VCs pocketed less than the year before. Nottingham's Shearer West found his pockets were £115,000 lighter, whilst Edinburgh paid out £100,000 less in 2017/18 than in 16/17.

The top 10 are all pocketing over £350k

Four out of the top 10 universities commanding the highest pay packets for Vice Chancellors are in London: King's College London, Imperial, LSE, and UCL.

Southampton Vice Chancellor Christopher Snowden received the highest wage in the 2017/18 academic year, inheriting a whopping £423,000. Snowden received a pay rise of 110 per cent from his predecessor, Don Nutbeam, the greatest rise in wage for a Vice Chancellor in 2016/17.

King's College London's Edward Byrne leads the pack with a pay of £461,000, whilst Oxford payed their Vice Chancellor £38,000 more than their rival Cambridge.

The Russell Group

Total pay in the Russell Group actually fell, even if it was only by an average of £25.

Still, before you get the violins out, the average pay for Vice Chancellors at Russell Group universities was £349,869.

Edinburgh's Peter Mathieson and Nottingham's Shearer West endured a pay decrease of £100,000 and £115,000 respectively, after a change of power from their predecessors. Vice Chancellors who held their position over the following academic year in 2017/18 received hefty bonuses in the form of pay rises. Birmingham's David Eastwood acquired a total sum of £441,000, on top of a £15,000 increase from 2016/17.

The top nine best paid Vice Chancellors routinely received USS pension upwards of £50,000, a stark contrast to UCU's estimate of a typical lecturer being almost £10,000 a year worse off as a result of disagreement between the UCU (Universities and College Union) and UUK over the USS pension scheme

VC pay still dwarfs other staff

The median pay for university staff in the 41 universities investigated is £36,916, almost nine times less than the average Vice Chancellor pay at £327,738.

At the top of the table, Oxford's Louise Richardson earns 12.8x the average , closely followed by Southampton's Christopher Snowden taking home 12.6x more than average.

By comparison, Falmouth's VC taking home only 4.9x more than average, and Hull's having a mere £5.63 for every pound the average worker earns, looks absolutely paltry.