VC April McMahon out-earns Prime Minister David Cameron

LOLFIGURES released earlier this year by the University and College Union show that Professor April McMahon, Vice Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, earned £228,000 in the year 2012/13.

The data, published by UCU, showed that all but five university Vice-Chancellors in the UK earned more than the Prime Minister’s salary of £142,500 in 2013, with an average pay rise of 5.1% from the previous year.

Online descriptions of the position state that the Vice-Chancellor is in charge of providing ‘strategic direction and leadership’ to their university, to chair important university bodies and meetings, and to represent the university regionally, nationally and internationally.

April McMahon received an above-average pay rise of 9.6%, from £208,000 the year before. The UCU has stated that it believes this pay rise to be an underestimation, because it does not take into account pension contributions.

A quarter of university Vice-Chancellors received pay rises of over 10%, and two-thirds received pay raises greater than the 1% that university staff were told was the most that could be afforded.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “This analysis shows that far too many Vice-Chancellors are happy to line their own pockets while pleading poverty to their staff. Almost one in three accepted a pay rise greater than 10% yet continue to drive down staff pay.

“It is the utterly arbitrary nature of the rises that make so little sense. Vice-Chancellors need to stop hiding behind shadowy remuneration committees and print the minutes of those meetings detailing what exactly they did to deserve such handsome rises. They also need to explain to staff why they deserve to be paid so much more than the people doing the teaching, research, admin and many roles that keep our universities ticking over.

“Guarantees made to ministers about pay restraint for university leaders have proved to be nothing but empty promises. Pay for those at the top has soared ever-upwards while pay for everyone else has plummeted. Our members, who are the backbone of universities, have seen their pay slump by 13% in real terms over the past five years.”