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Ranked: The eye-watering salaries of all the Russell Group uni vice-chancellors

Glad to see my £9k is going to good use x


There is nothing more true in this world than the fact that university vice-chancellors are paid absolutely silly money. And perhaps none more so than the Russell Group vice-chancellors and their frankly mind-boggling salaries – all in the six figures, naturally.

At the top of the list is Imperial in London, which made the news last week after it emerged its (now former) vice-chancellor Alice Gast was earning over £700k last academic year – £714,000, to be exact.

Four Russell Group unis, including Imperial, are paying their vice-chancellors upwards of £500k. Next up was Oxford, whose (now former) vice-chancellor Louise Richardson earned £542,000, followed by LSE, where vice-chancellor Minouche Shafik got £539,000.

In fourth place was Cambridge at £526,000, although included in this is its (now former) vice-chancellor Stephen Toope had £10,000 deducted “to reflect salary sacrifice arrangements”. How generous x

Students around the country are struggling through the depths of the cost of living crisis, which has seen students struggling to heat their homes and even skipping lectures to save money, with over a quarter of students living off less than £50 a month after paying for rent and bills. And uni lecturers are gearing up to go on 18 days of strike (on top of three already last term), as staff are in an ongoing campaign for better pay and pensions, among other things.

At the bottom of the list is Manchester, whose vice-chancellor Nancy Rothwell was subject to a vote of no confidence back in 2021 after a student-led #NancyOut campaign following the uni’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic (the uni later said it had “full confidence” in her and she remained). Last academic year her salary was £276,000, making her the lowest paid of all Russell Group vice-chancellors who worked the full year.

At Birmingham, David Eastwood worked as vice-chancellor from August-December of the 2021/22 academic year and made £372k for the pleasure of it. His replacement Adam Tickell earned £229k from January-July. And at Durham, Anthony Long earned £145k from August-December, before Karen O’Brien took over as vice-chancellor and raked in £198k from January-July of the academic year.

These are the full Russell Group vice-chancellor salaries, from the last full academic year:

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