Warwick University Campus Photo: Warwick Media Library

Universities prioritise executive salaries over low-wage workers

Universities are choosing to pay their executive staff on average 18.6 times as much as their lowest earning workers, according to a report published by the Young Greens of England and Wales.

The report reveals that £228 million is spent on executive pay for vice-chancellors each year in British universities while 4,872 members of staff remain on the minimum wage, which is currently set at £6.31 per hour for adults over 21.

Additionally the report notes that a total of 6,769 workers are below the national living wage of £7.45, the amount considered necessary for a comfortable standard of life.

Rustam Majainah, lead author of the report, said: “It is unacceptable for these vice-chancellors to claim that they are unable to find the money to pay their workers enough to have a decent quality of life.”

The University of Warwick has revealed that its pay ratio is far higher than the national average at 34:1 including apprentices.

The University of Warwick has stated that no workers are paid the minimum wage and only two workers are paid below the national living wage – both of these are apprentices.

Peter Dunn, head of communications at the University of Warwick, urged that: “The national minimum wage for apprentices is very different from that of the normal national minimum wage.”

Deputy leader of the Green Party, Will Duckworth, highlights that the disparities in wages are “detrimental to our entire society”.

Research suggests that large pay gaps can make some workers feel devalued and Mr Duckworth added that this is “even more likely than unemployment to cause mental illness”.

The vice-chancellor of the University of Warwick, Nigel Thrift, is currently on a salary of £288,000 after being awarded a 21 percent (£50,000) rise in 2012.

However, this figure is dwarfed by the UK’s top paid executive from Imperial College London who currently has a salary of £389,050.

The Young Greens published this report as part of their ‘Campaign for Fair Pay on Campus’ which is calling for a reduction of the current average pay ratio of 18.6:1 to 10:1.

Comments (2)

  • How can whoever this spokesperson for the Uni is say that ‘no workers are paid the minimum wage’… everyone who works at the SU including me and my friends at Curiositea, Xananas, Terrace Bar, etc. are all on minimum wage! Ridiculous.

  • A top to bottom ratio isn’t very useful as concluded by Will Hutton in his fair pay report – if you include apprentices the figures will be even more meaningless. You could have one apprentice on the apprentice minimum of £2.68 an hour and all other staff could be on £20,000 or more, but the ratio would only reflect the pay of two people in the organisation.

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