Yorkshire's university chiefs pick up an average of £253,000 figures show

Sir Keith Burnett: University of Sheffield vice-chancellor was highest paid in Yorkshire.
Sir Keith Burnett: University of Sheffield vice-chancellor was highest paid in Yorkshire.
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LEADERS at the region’s universities were handed pay packets worth just over £253,000 on average last year, according to new analysis by The Yorkshire Post.

Sir Keith Burnett, the vice-chancellor at the University of Sheffield, was Yorkshire’s highest-paid, taking home a salary of £426,589 last year, including a £33,999 bonus, compared to £422,706 the previous year. He no longer participates in a university pension scheme.

The lowest-paid was Professor Margaret A House at Leeds Trinity University; however she still earned a basic salary of £166,815 in 2016/17.

The University and College Union (UCU) said it recognised it was a “big job”, but, with some salaries almost tripling that of the Prime Minister, who earns about £150,000 a year, it questioned whether it was more difficult than running the country.

The analysis comes amid growing concern over spiralling salary hikes and several high-profile figures, including Ministers, calling for restraint. It concludes that once employer pension contributions are included, the average pay package for Yorkshire university bosses was just under £282,000.

It also shows that average basic salary has risen by 2.59 per cent, compared to 2015/16.

The average figures exclude the University of Hull, due to the retirement of the vice-chancellor Professor Calie Pistorius.

UCU regional official Julie Kelley told The Yorkshire Post the salaries did not include “extra perks” received by some, including houses, cars, cleaners and even chauffeurs. She said: “Our view is generally that the salaries for vice-chancellors are unbelievably high. Does that represent good value for money in an organisation?

“When you look at what an average member of staff is being paid in comparison, are we saying a vice-chancellor’s role is much more difficult than anybody else’s?”

The figures are based on an analysis of the 2016/17 financial accounts of the region’s ten universities, not including the new Leeds Arts University, which was awarded university status last summer, or the University of Law Leeds campus.

A Department for Education spokesperson added: “The Office for Students will have a range of levers to use to ensure transparency and accountability with respect to senior pay.”

Vice-chancellors’ pay has been in the spotlight after the leader of University of Bath Dame Glynis Breakwell’s package of £468,000 made her a figure of controversy, causing her to step down.