IEA reacts to Government plans to intervene in university vice chancellors' pay

Commenting on the Government’s plans to crack down on university vice-chancellor pay, Len Shackleton, Editorial Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“Criticisms of vice-chancellors’ pay is unfair and unjustified. Universities are freestanding institutions and should be allowed to set their pay structures as they see fit. They are not reliant on the state and are not fair game for the recent and extensive public scrutiny they have endured from politicians.

“Running a major university is a hugely demanding and pressurised job, requiring a wide range of skills and abilities – usually on top of a strong academic record. The number of people qualified to take on such a role is limited and their remuneration needs to reflect this.

“Introducing a cap on pay for vice-chancellors would provide little benefit to other university staff, and risk driving talent to work abroad. There is an international market for university heads, just as there is for academic researchers. If anything, at the moment UK vice-chancellors’ pay is low by international standards. To ensure UK universities remain competitive they must be given the means to hire the best. The Government should concentrate on sorting out the student funding mess rather than this sort of populist posturing.”

Notes to editors:

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