University chiefs across the country might have received average pay rises of more than £5,000, but Cambridge University’s vice-chancellor saw his salary fall last year. Figures compiled by Times Higher Education show that Cambridge’s Sir Leszek Borysiewicz took a pay cut of 2.7 per cent in the 2011-2012 academic year, leaving him with £271,000.

But this cut was offset by a 19 per cent increase in cash towards his pension, meaning Borysiewicz’s total pay packet came to £314,000, a 0.64 per cent increase on the previous year. This figure is more in line with nationwide pay increases which have been seen across the higher education sector as a whole, as other academic staff saw an average pay rise of 0.5 per cent last year. In Cambridge however, full-time academic staff took an average pay increase of only 0.25 per cent.

Meanwhile, at the Other Place...Oxford's Vice-Chancellor, Andrew Hamilton.University of Oxford

Across the country the average university vice-chancellor took home nearly £250,000 in pay, benefits and pension contributions, a 2.7 per cent increase over the previous year. Oxford University’s vice-chancellor leads the pay packet league with £424,000, but it was the chiefs of newer universities who saw some of the biggest pay increases last year. The vice-chancellor at the University of Bolton saw their salary up 25 per cent, and there was an increase of 20 per cent for their counterpart at Northampton University.

The general secretary of the University and College Union Sally Hunt said the national pay rises were “an embarrassment to higher education”. “While staff have had to endure sharp real-terms pay cuts, those at the top have enjoyed rises”, she commented.

The news comes as the Higher Education Funding Council for England last month confirmed cuts of £800m to public funding for universities in the 2013/2014 academic year, as part of the transition to the new student fees regime.

While almost two-thirds of vice-chancellors included in the analysis saw increases to their salaries last year, Borysiewicz was one of just 34 university leaders whose pay went down. Even though an £8,000 increase in pension contributions equates to a modest increase in his overall renumeration package, high inflation rates mean the Cambridge vice-chancellor saw a real terms cut in his total pay and benefits of roughly 3.2 per cent. 

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Professor Sir Leszek BorysiewiczUniversity of Cambridge

The figures also reveal how much other university academics can expect to earn, and shine light on a national gender pay gap in higher education. According to Times Higher Education the average Cambridge professor’s salary was £79,022 in 2011-2012, but women earned less than their male counterparts on average. Female professors at the University saw their pay average £77,338 in the last academic year, while men took home £79,316.

Among all full-time academic staff the average gender pay gap was 18 per cent, with £8,620 dividing the genders, above the nationwide average pay gap of £6,017 (12 per cent). The figures show that the average pay packet for full-time Cambridge academics came to £44,918, but while the average male academic earned £47,907 last year, female staff saw average pay of £39,287. This represents a small drop in the Cambridge gender pay gap, which in 2010-11 stood at 19 per cent, or £9,188 on average.

In contrast, across the city at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), the average female academic took home £1,681 less than male colleagues last year, a pay gap of just 4 per cent. The average salary of full time academics at Anglia Ruskin topped that of Cambridge by over £1,000, coming in at £46,088.

Anglia Ruskin University campusAndyRobertsPhotos

ARU staff saw their pay increase by 0.35 per cent last year, just outpacing Cambridge academics. The average male wage saw a modest decline, but female salaries rose by 1.1 per cent at the post-1992 university. The gender pay gap at Oxford University was just shy of Cambridge’s, at £8,066, while the LSE’s came to £10,470.