The average total remuneration package for university vice-chancellors, including salary, benefits, employer pension contributions and bonuses, was £277,834 in 2015-2016, up by 2% from £272,432 in 2014-15, according to research by the University and College Union (UCU).
The research, which is based on a freedom of information request to 160 higher education institutions in the UK, 152 of which provided responses, as well as information from published financial statements, also found that vice-chancellors’ total pay and benefits package increased by 6.7% over the past three years, up from £260,290 in 2013-14.
Between 2014-15 and 2015-16, the total remuneration package for vice-chancellors increased on average by 4% per individual.
In 2015-16, 22 institutions employed more than 100 staff members with salaries of more than £100,000, compared to 20 institutions in 2014-15.
Heads of institutions in 24 universities saw their total pay package increase by 10% or more.
Sally Hunt (pictured), general secretary at UCU, said: “Those at the very top in our universities need to rein in the largesse that embarrasses the sector and the government needs to enforce proper scrutiny of their pay and perks. Telling staff there is no money for pay rises while signing off golden goodbyes worth a quarter of a million pounds or handing out pay rises in excess of 10% to 24 university heads is quite outrageous.
“Unless the government finally steps in, we believe many vice-chancellors will continue to spend public money and students’ fees with impunity. The huge disparities in the levels of pay and pay rises at the top expose the arbitrary nature of senior pay and perks in our universities.”