The news that the Universities and Colleges Employers Association has offered academic staff ‘a £100 pay rise for the 2011-12 academic year’ is more than an insult. It reveals much about how employers view staff. (See ‘Employers make £100 pay offer’ by John Morgan in THE.)
Whenever you hear excuses about the need to ‘recruit’ and/or ‘retain’ people in the financial services industry, banking and sectors, it is always about the executives (or bureaucrats) at the top who take home pay that is beyond what most people can dream about making during their careers or (in the more obscene cases of executive pay) in a lifetime.
Yet, the same (supposedly) ‘common sense’ expression never seems to apply to the rest of us: those of us that do the teaching, research, administration and service that makes universities (and the rest of the world) work so well. It’s a myth. It’s just an excuse to pay money that comes out of the pockets of employees and consumers, and academics and students, that goes to pay for these bureaucrats at the top.
If you want students to pay £9,000 a year for a degree at a university in the UK, then you are going to have to think about paying academics decent if not competitive salaries in order to compete with universities in the Netherlands and elsewhere.
Otherwise, you are going to have an increasing problem with the world reputation of universities. The reputation of the worst affected universities will affect the overall reputation of all universities in the UK, regardless of individual performance.