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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

90% of Senior Management paid over £100,000

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

Despite recruitment freeze, University bosses are making more money than ever before

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Members of the University of Aberdeen’s Senior Management Team have seen their salaries skyrocket in recent years, The Gaudie can reveal.

A Gaudie investigation has discovered that 90% of University leadership are being paid at least £100,000, with six individuals receiving more than £150,000.

Executive salaries have seen a marked increase since 2018.

Five years ago, just 40% of University management received a six figure salary, and only one individual was paid over £150,000.

Currently, the Senior Management Team (exlcuding the Vice Chancellor) comprises ten individuals, including five Vice Principals, the University CFO and COO, and the Directors of Advancement, External Relations, and People.

The year over year increase in salaries can be seen below:

Vice Chancellor salary has also increased:

In addition to the SMT, University Principal and Vice Chancellor George Boyne’s salary has also increased.

It jumped nearly twenty-thousand pounds in 2022, from £258,318 to £278,100.

While the figures for the current academic year are incomplete, Freedom of Information data indicates that Professor Boyne's current salary is £283,662.

As shown below, Professor Boyne’s salary has risen each of the years he has served as Vice Chancellor (excluding the COVID year):

These figures do not include the total amount of remuneration paid by the University, who also provide Professor Boyne with ‘pension contribution, accommodation and living allowance.’

That data can be seen below:

The salaries and ‘conditions of service’ of senior management are determined by UoA’s Remuneration Committee.

The Committee, made up of seven individuals, includes Senior Governor of the University Julie Ashworth, several independent members of University Court, and Student Association President Vanessa Mabonso Nzolo.

While minutes of the Committee’s meetings are available online, the most recent posted minutes are from December of 2021, over eighteen months ago.

Rising salaries come as the University spends more than it is taking in.

At a Senate meeting in early February, Professor Boyne confirmed that the University had a multimillion pound funding deficit.

A recruitment freeze has been put into place as finance chiefs aim to balance the budget.

UCU Aberdeen bosses slam ‘entitled’ University leadership

Local union leaders, whose members are currently refusing to mark final assessments, have weighed in.

They told The Gaudie: 'The exponential rise in executive salaries is shocking in this time of hardship, and it is especially shocking within an academic institution where the Principal traditionally was the first among equals. It was only fifteen years ago when Principals earned salaries commensurate with other professors. The salary of the Principal and the Senior Management team has grown in leaps and bounds since 2020…’

‘At the same time the salaries of the staff who do the work have stagnated – but the work has also become stressful and unhealthy. Our last staff salary established that 91% of lecturers work more than their contracted hours while their pay has shrunk by 25% since 2009.’

‘When our staff take advantage of their legal right to protest, this entitled management team cut their salaries by 50% and replaced their expertise with random, non-specialist marking assistants.’

University defends Boyne salary

In response to a query about Professor Boyne’s salary, especially in light of the cost of living crisis, a University spokesperson said:

‘The Principal is in charge of one of Scotland’s leading universities – an institution responsible for thousands of staff, students and other stakeholders and which makes a significant contribution to the local and national economy.’

‘The Principal took a voluntary pay cut of 20% for a six-month period from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021, and donated 20% of his salary for a year to the Development Trust to support widening access scholarships for University of Aberdeen students from less prosperous parts of the North East.’

‘The percentage rise in the Principal’s salary over the period since his appointment is in line with the average percentage salary increase across the University and is comparable with other similar institutions.’

‘Details of the Principal’s salary are published on our website and in the University’s Annual Report and Accounts. The Principal’s salary and conditions of service are independently determined by the University’s Remuneration Committee. The Principal is not a member of this committee.'


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