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CUC, GuildHE, UCEA and UUK statements to the Times Higher Education on Head of Institutions 2008-09

CUC, GuildHE, UCEA and UUK statements to the Times Higher Education on Head of Institutions 2008-09 pay

The Committee of University Chairs (CUC), commented:

“The average increase awarded to Vice-Chancellors from 2008/09 broadly reflects the high award for all staff at the end of what was a generous 3-year settlement.

Decisions are made individually by each governing body’s remuneration committee having regard to a wide variety of factors relevant to that institution’s circumstances.  This may include market position, international competitiveness and individual performance.

From the CUC’s own researches we can report that considerable restraint was exercised by universities’ governing bodies between 2008/09 and 2009/10 in setting Vice-Chancellor’s pay, with a substantially lower average increase reported, reflecting the changed economic climate. Our analysis of pay increases shows that the average increase in salary was 1.9% between 2008/09 and 2009/10.  This compares with a total pay increase of up to 3.5% for staff generally for 2009/10, comprising a pay settlement of 0.5% plus an incremental rise of 3%.”

GuildHE statements on remuneration packages for Heads of HE Institutions in 2008/09

Professor John Porter, Chair of the University College Plymouth St Mark and St John and of the GuildHE’s Practical Governance Network commented: “Vice Chancellors and Principals have their pay determined by separate remuneration committees composed of key members of the governing body taking an independent view. They undertake an objective consideration and ensure the pay is proportionate to the scope and scale of the responsibilities. Some of the significant changes in an institution as it develops – for example gaining degree awarding powers - will be recognised in the pay for its leader. These individuals play significant roles within their different communities as well as taking responsibility for their staff and students. Nearly two years have passed since the remuneration committees determined the 2008/09 pay increases reflected in the survey. Now everyone is conscious of the present economic climate, and the current and future pressures on funding within the higher education sector. The latest and future pay outcomes for institutional leaders across the sector during this next period reflect the current financial context.”
Alice Hynes Chief Executive Officer of GuildHE commented: “These past payments have been well-deserved - the hard work and commitment heads give to lead their institutions in difficult times require high levels of skill and often deep subject knowledge. They also contribute to the good order of various communities within higher education and outside.  Heads of Institutions that have changed status to university or university college now carry new levels of academic autonomy, which is recognised appropriately in pay increases.  The range of salaries reflects the diversity of institutions in the ecology of HE and the scale of resources for which they take responsibility.”

UCEA Statement on remuneration packages for Vice-Chancellors and Principals in 2008/09

A spokesperson for UCEA said:
“UCEA’s own research looking at the actual salary increases received by the 133 Heads of Institution who remained in post in 2008-09 shows a median increase of 8.9%, broadly in line with the more than 8%* received by the majority of HE staff for that same period.

“Nearly two years have passed since these 2008/09 increases and it is no surprise that the 2009/10 remuneration figures for staff and early information on Heads of Institutions reflect extremely tight budgets and financial constraints.” **

* 5% rise on the national pay spine from 1 October 2008 and a 3% incremental rise received by over 60% of staff
** The 2009/10 national negotiations resulted in a 0.5% uplift for HE staff on the national pay spine with the majority also receiving a 3% incremental rise. Feedback from institutions where the outcome of 2009/10 pay reviews have been finalised show that 70% of Heads of Institutions are either receiving no increase at all or 0.5%.

UUK response to Times Higher survey of Vice-Chancellors and Principals' pay in 2008-09

Responding to the Times Higher survey of Vice-Chancellors' pay in 2008-09, Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “The survey relates to pay in 2008-09 which will have been agreed by independent remuneration committees at that time. The sector’s own research into the remuneration of Vice-Chancellors and Principals in 2008-09 shows the median increase was 8.9% which is in line with the overall staff pay rises for that same time period.

“We are now in quite a different funding climate and the results of our survey of Vice-Chancellors and Principals' salaries for this year (2009-10) reflect this. For this period (2009-10), the average increase is 0.5% with 70% of Vice-Chancellors and Principals receiving uplifts of 0% or 0.5%.” [see note 1]

Nicola Dandridge added: “Higher education remains one of the most successful sectors in the UK, generating £59 billion for the economy, putting it ahead of the agricultural, advertising, pharmaceutical and postal industries. Our universities are unique in terms of the quality of tuition and the student experience they offer. They rank only after the US in terms of the global impact of their research.

“Universities have an average annual turnover of over £100 million, and are highly complex businesses. The remuneration packages for university Vice-Chancellors reflect what it takes to attract, retain and reward individuals of sufficient calibre, experience and talent to ensure that UK universities continue to contribute to our economic recovery, transform lives and remain world leaders in terms of the quality and impact of teaching and research.

“Salaries of university heads in the UK are comparable with those in competitor countries and are also in line with remuneration packages for directors and chief executives of public and private organisations of a similar size.

“As the role and importance of higher education have grown, so have the demands on the offices of Vice-Chancellors. The activities of universities are becoming increasingly complex as they make an ever more significant contribution to meeting the needs of the economy and society as well as through teaching and research.”


  1. GuildHE/UCEA/UUK have gathered information on salaries of heads of institutions for 2009-2010. Of 104 institutions able to respond, 78 have confirmed uplifts for Vice-Chancellors and Principals. The median average was 0.5% for 2009-10 with 70% of Vice-Chancellors and Principals agreeing to uplifts of 0% or 0.5%.
  2. The Universities and Colleges Employers Association's (UCEA) analysis of the actual remuneration increases received by Heads of Institutions in 2008-09 shows a median increase of 8.9%. This figure is based on a comparison of the reported remuneration increases of the 133 Heads of Institution who remained in post over the period.
For more information on pay in HE see the latest UCEA Facts and Figures - Pay - Spring 2010
For further information, contact:
Andy Fryer, UCEA Communications Manager: 020 7383 2444
Marc Whittaker, UCEA Communications Officer: 020 7383 2444