In March 2009 The Guardian reported that the pay of university vice-chancellors had soared to an average of £194,000, nearly equalling the pay of the Prime Minister. The University of Nottingham featured particularly prominently in the article, which stated that “The highest earner was Sir Colin Campbell whose 90% pay increase saw him pocket a salary and benefits package worth £585,000 on the eve of retirement.” A year on, Nottingham has hit the headlines again as it was reported that current vice-chancellor, Professor David Greenaway, is the fifth highest earner in this country for his profession. In fact it emerged that Professor Greenaway earned £338,000 in 2008-2009, a wage increase of 7.7%. However, as universities seek to bump up tuition fees, the question that needs to be asked is whether this money is serving the university and its students in the best possible way?

The University does not believe the issues of increasing fees and the vice-chancellor’s salary to be related topics, yet is it justifiable that a man should be paid more than the Prime Minister simply for overseeing a university? Clearly the institution believes the answer to be yes, as the response given by Nottingham University to The Guardian was “An institution… with a turnover of almost £500m is complex and demanding. Therefore, we would expect to be paying a higher than average salary.” There is some rationale behind this as reportedly student numbers have doubled since 1999. Moreover, surely one could argue that, as a noted economist, Professor Greenaway would be aware of any injustice concerning his own salary. However, students of the University may have other ideas, with the Guardian reporting that earnings of Vice-Chancellors have in some cases doubled or tripled over the past decade, vastly outstripping inflation. This is the fact the university may wish to consider.

Millie Lovett

Previous post

Student Comedy: More than a Bad Pun?

Next post

Much Ado About the Bard’s Lost Play


  1. Sam
    May 17, 2010 at 11:23 — Reply

    Utterly disgusting!

  2. V
    May 19, 2010 at 23:26 — Reply

    Oh hush. Managing a multinational organisation with over 20,000 staff and half a billion pounds of turnover easily justifies that renumeration.

  3. a student
    May 20, 2010 at 00:21 — Reply

    Why does it justify it? What value does he add to the University in return for his £338,000 a year? What is there to suggest that an equally competent person could not be brought in on a much lower salary? In the current climate of austerity the University faces cuts in research budgets across the board and students are paying more than ever before for their education. Students from poorer families are increasingly unable to afford to go to University, and yet the annual tuition fees of more than 100 students are being spent purely on funding this one man’s salary. It seems to me that there is a moral imperative that the Vice-Chancellor and other extremely highly paid University staff take a significant pay cut.

  4. May 23, 2010 at 20:03 — Reply

    There seems very little transparency surrounding the setting of pay, there appears to be no clear principles dictating how much is paid and why, and, there is no requirement for those who decided to set pay at this level to explain their reasoning. An utterly vulgar amount when contrasted with the cuts the sector is currently facing.

  5. Get Real
    May 23, 2010 at 23:25 — Reply

    If Greenaway was to work in the private sector he would get a far superior remuneration package. A man with his qualifications, previous experience, and other core competencies would have no trouble in raking in a far higher salary if he were to work for a large conglomerate or bank. The value added to the university as a whole through his political clout, experience, and Alumni connections and donations far outweigh this comparatively tiny pay package.

    You may also wish to note that he is Chairman of the UK Armed Forces Pay Review Body and Member of the UK Senior Salaries Review Body, so I am pretty sure he knows what a fair remuneration package for his position is.

  6. Luke Place
    May 25, 2010 at 19:14 — Reply

    I’ll do it for £38,000 and if someone can prove to me after a year that I’ve made the university £300,000 worse off, I’ll give £30,000 of my pay back.

    Where do I apply?

  7. a student
    May 26, 2010 at 14:20 — Reply

    To ‘Get Real’, if it is necessary to pay him that much, then why do we only pay the Prime Minister £207,000? Professor Greenaway earns more than 50% more than David Cameron, which is plainly ridiculous, so what does it matter what he would earn if he were to work in the private sector? Private sector executives are notoriously overpaid, and this is at last now also being challenged, rightly, from all sides of the political debate.

  8. May 26, 2010 at 18:25 — Reply

    I don’t want to wade fully hip-deep into this particular issue, other than to ask why we would assume that somebody is paid too much just because they earn more than the Prime Minister, because an awful lot of people do. We’re not in a Communist state – there is absolutely nothing which says that the head of government should be paid more than anybody else, or indeed be used as a yardstick by which other salaries are measured.

    Private sector executives are not ‘notoriously overpaid’ because some quango has decreed it so, or because a minister has been handing out salaries to his mates (they save that for our public sector employees) – it’s because that particular company thinks that somebody is worth that amount. Why should we have the right to interfere in that, just because we don’t like the fact that somebody is earning a good wage? It’s, quite frankly, none of our business.

    The private sector pays more because they know that they have to justify those wages only against the amount of money the company makes. David Cameron is paid less because politicians know they have to justify their wages against public opinion. Plus he most certainly brings less money into the economy than the private sector.

    Should we be spending our time complaining about Professor Greenaway’s pay packet, or should we focus on our slipping reputation in the league tables, or indeed any problems we may have on our courses like student satisfaction or contact time with staff? These days we may be treated more like customers of the university than the beneficiaries of a benevolent educational system, but instead of worrying about the man at the top, we should be looking at the product we receive.

  9. Rob Paddon
    June 1, 2010 at 21:36 — Reply

    pea head

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.