Academic Professorial Salaries Rising More Than Twice As Fast

Professorial salaries are rising more than twice as fast as pay for other academic grades, raising fears about the inflationary impact of next year’s research excellence framework. With just seven months to go until the cut-off point for inclusion of staff in the REF, figures released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency suggest that professorial staff are gaining higher wage rises than rank-and-file academics squeezed by low national pay offers.

The average salary for full-time professors rose by 0.55 per cent to £76,214 in 2011-12 – almost three times the 0.2 per cent average pay increase handed to all other academic staff, whose average salaries rose by just £88 to £43,130, the Hesa figures show.

The number of professors at UK universities rose to 18,465 in 2011-12. Excluding the 584 scholars at the University of Oxford reclassified as professors that year, this equals an extra 416 academics at that grade.

Average pay for professors at several universities rose sharply, with many post-1992 institutions offering far higher average salaries than in previous years (see data below).

Roger Brown, professor of higher education policy at Liverpool Hope University, said that pay increases were likely to have been influenced by the REF, although he added that the rises were modest compared with previous years.

However, Mahesan Niranjan, professor of electronics and computer science at the University of Southampton and an expert on the REF, said that last year’s salary differential should not automatically be attributed to the exercise.

“REF or no REF, one group (professors) have the opportunity to seek pay advances against their performance evaluated in annual appraisals, while the other group (non-professors) don’t,” he observed.

AACSB salaries check

A global salary survey is conducted each year and sent to all AACSB member schools. This survey was previously limited to AACSB members in the U.S., but in recent years it has been opened to the full membership. Since then, global participation has been increasing each year.

Professor salaries at 10 US universities

Below you find a comparison of last year of 10 US universities.

Is it bad that professors can seek pay advances against their performance and others not? Looking at some of the figures displayed in this article and others, there’s still a huge gap amongst the different institutes.

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