University vice-chancellor sees pay rise by £20,000 in one year

Vice-chancellor of the University of East Anglia, David Richardson. Picture: Denise Bradley

Vice-chancellor of the University of East Anglia, David Richardson. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

The vice-chancellor of a Norwich university saw his pay packet increase by £20,000 over one year.

Professor David Richardson, at the University of East Anglia (UEA), saw his take-home rise from £271,000 in 2015/16 to £291,000 in 2016/17 - a 7.3pc increase.

His base salary rose from £225,000 to £240,000, benefits in kind remained the same at £8,000 and pension contributions rose from £38,000 to £43,000, new financial statements show.

The average increase in university staff pay over the year was 2.6pc.

The university said £240,000 remained below the national average, and reflected both professor Richardson and the university's achievements.

UEA, University of East Anglia.

UEA, University of East Anglia. - Credit: Supplied

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Joe Greenwell, chairman of UEA's Council, said its Senior Officers' Remuneration Committee (SORC) felt 'sustained growth and improved institutional performance had underpinned' the vice-chancellor's increases in salary.

He said the council takes a 'measured and considered review, and exercises appropriate restraint' in decision making, and cited University and College Union (UCU) research, which put the average vice-chancellor salary at £277,834 for 2015/16.

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'I would also add that universities are now subjected to market forces in a manner experienced by few other, if any, charities,' he added. 'The quality of all aspects of our activities, including our leadership is crucial, and remuneration must play its part in that.'

MORE: Average pay packet for UK university vice-chancellors more than £277,000, union says

According to UEA's website, professor Richardson sits on the SORC which makes the decision, but is absent from decisions relating to his own remuneration.

One university employee, who did not wish to be named but said they had worked on campus for six years, said they been given a pay rise in the previous year, which worked out to roughly 1pc.

They said: 'It is galling to see... I understand that if one is at that level then that's what it all becomes, but do they really need to earn more than £200,000?

'I don't doubt they are hard working but there's a lot of hard working people out there - doctors and nurses aren't paid anywhere near that amount.'

The equivalent figure for professor John Last, Norwich University of the Arts' (NUA) vice-chancellor, was £178,955 for 2017, compared to £174,194 for 2016.

The 2017 figure was broken down into £177,310 for salaries and £1,645 in benefits in kind.


The pay of university vice-chancellors has come under heightened scrutiny in recent months.

It has been particularly centred on Bath University, where former vice-chancellor Dame Glynis Breakwell's £468,000 salary and benefits were the highest of any university leader in the country.

It sparked protest from students, staff and unions, and she announced her resignation late last month.

But anger continued to mount when it emerged she would continue to be paid until 2019.

The furore around the high pay earlier this year saw the government intervene September, with universities minister Jo Johnson saying universities would, going forward, have to justify pay over £150,000.

It came after Oxford University's vice-chancellor defended her £350,000 a year salary - saying those at her level were paid poorly compared to footballers and bankers.

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