Senior managers at the Ulster University are the third highest paid in the sector in the UK, it has been revealed.
Of the 162 universities in the UK, only King’s College London and the University of Manchester pays its senior managers more than Ulster University.
Recently published figures for 2015-16 by the Times Higher Education magazine list Ulster University’s managers, directors and senior officials in a category that receive an average salary of £89,414 – more than one and a half times the UK average – and almost exactly twice as much as the average salary of a lecturer at the university.
Comparatively, Queen’s University Belfast pays £84,742 to its managers, directors and senior officials.
Consequently, the Northern Ireland average for this type of worker is significantly higher than the rest of the UK at £76,015, compared to the UK average of £59,961, with England at £57,084, Scotland (£59,535) and Wales (£48,498). The figures have emerged after both the local universities complained of funding cuts from Stormont.
In June 2015, Ulster University confirmed that 1,250 student places and around 210 staff posts would be lost following an £8.6m cut in the funding received from the former Department of Employment at Stormont.
More than 140 staff left the university on a voluntary severance scheme in April 2016, followed by a smaller number of compulsory redundancies.
The University and College Union (UCU) branch president, Tracy Irwin, claimed that senior management “should be ashamed of themselves”.
“These figures are from a year when they made unnecessary cuts that saw over 140 of our lecturer colleagues lose their jobs,” she said.
“At the same time, our management were being paid on average twice as much as a lecturer, and our Vice Chancellor was putting in place an extra layer of senior managers.”
“A university should exist to educate and enable young people and provide ground-breaking research. These outrageous figures illustrate the shift in Ulster University’s resources towards an inflated managerial level that seeks to run our university like a business.”
A spokeswoman for the Ulster University said it is important to acknowledge, as the Times Higher Education has, that “pay data is not always comparable between institutions given the range of roles across categories”.
“Job losses during 2015/16 were a direct consequence of the NI Executive budget cuts, resulting in the university having to make difficult decisions to reduce student places, with an impact on the related academic staff numbers,” she said.
“With the Higher Education sector facing such unprecedented challenges, our global competitiveness is strengthened and enhanced by professional senior officials, directors and managers who provide the university with clear leadership and strategic direction, working in partnership with senior academic colleagues.
“Salaries for our senior professional roles are entirely comparable to those of our equivalent senior academic staff.”