Government intervention in vice-chancellor pay will drive talent away from UK universities


Press Release

IEA reacts to Nicola Sturgeon's announcement that she will end the public sector pay cap

Labour Market

IEA reacts to TfL's decision not to renew Uber's license

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:

For media enquiries please contact Nerissa Chesterfield, Communications Officer: 020 7799 8920 or 07791 390 268

Further IEA Reading: And how much do you earn?

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems and seeks to provide analysis in order to improve the public understanding of economics.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.