The Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Oxford University was the third highest paid Russell Group VC in 2015-16, new figures reveal.
The total remuneration paid to the former VC Andrew Hamilton, and his successor Louise Richardson, who took over the post in January 2016, was £442,000.
This sees an increase of one per cent on the previous year’s salary, but an overall decrease in the total earnings from £462,000—including pensions and benefits—which had made Hamilton the highest paid UK Vice-Chancellor in 2014-15, according to an earlier University and College Union (UCU) report.
The Oxford UCU criticised the news, noting that staff at Oxford University have some of the highest levels of additional employment and work casualisation in the country.
The figures were revealed in analysis by Times Higher Education (THE), which found that on average, leaders of the UK’s Russell Group universities take home almost six per cent more than they did two years ago.
During the same period, university staff took a one per cent increase in pay, staging a two-day walkout in May.
Oxford University was eager to point out that the increase in Richardson’s and Hamilton’s joint earnings for the 2015–2016 financial year, which amounted to £384,000, was in line with a pay rise for all University staff.
A University spokesperson told Cherwell: “The Vice-Chancellor’s salary for the seven months to 31 July, 2016 was £204,000. She received no benefits. Pro-rata, the present VC’s salary represents a one per cent increase on her predecessor’s salary for 2014-15. This is in line with the one per cent pay rise received by all University staff.”
Louise Richardson, who had previously served as the Vice-Chancellor at St Andrews University, became the Oxford VC on 1 January 2016, with a promise to “tackle elitism”.
News of the nation-wide pay increase for Vice Chancellors has been criticised by the University and College Union (UCU).
The President of the Oxford UCU branch, Dr Garrick Taylor, told Cherwell: “It has unfortunately come as no surprise that VC pay has again increased so much while university staff have seen consistent real terms pay cuts, as universities have being doing this year on year.
“All over the country professional and academic staff in universities are struggling as rent and house prices go up but pay is depressed. The situation is even worse in Oxford, which has among the highest rent and house prices in the country, and we are increasingly seeing staff taking on additional employment on top of their already demanding roles. On top of this Oxford has amongst the highest level of university staff casualisation in the country, meaning a lack of job security on top of real terms pay cuts.
“We hope that this year the universities will attempt to redress the balance and give staff an above inflation pay rise in the same manner that they have been giving their VCs.”
However, the Russell Group Director General, Dr Wendy Piatt, defended the pay increases, telling THE that “many vice chancellors have accepted only very modest increases” and that pay levels were set by independent committees that include “expert representatives from outside the sector”.
The Vice-Chancellor’s office has been contacted for comment.