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Since 2016, Cardiff Met’s vice chancellor has had a total of £250,000 salary ‘top ups’

She is currently ranked third on the ‘highest basic salaries’ in public sector jobs within Wales


Since joining in 2016, Cardiff Met’s vice chancellor has had a total of over £250,000 “top ups” to her salary instead of employer contributions to her pension.

Professor Cara Aitchison, who retires at the end of this month, received a salary of £304,846 for the 2021-2022 financial year, reports Nation Cymru.

Professor Aitchison’s pay package saw her ranked third on the highest basic salaries in public sector jobs within Wales for the 2021-22 financial year and 2021 academic year, according to Wales Online.

The top five spots are all vice-chancellors, with the top rank going to Professor Paul Boyle, the vice chancellor of Swansea University who has a salary of £312,000.

Since joining the university in October 2016, Professor Aitchison has received salary increases rather than employer contributions to her pension. The report shows that over the past six years the amount paid to Professor Aitchison in this way totals £226,859.

A spokesperson for Cardiff Metropolitan University told Nation Cymru: “Cardiff Metropolitan University’s pension schemes for senior staff are an important component of the reward offering, allowing the university to attract and retain the most talented employees.

“A policy of considering an offer to pay a salary in lieu of pension supplement for senior postholders in circumstances where the size of their existing pension pot exceeds their lifetime allowance has been an increasingly popular option adopted by organisations as part of their pay and reward strategy.

“Following the UK Government’s decision to abolish the lifetime allowance, the university has reviewed its policy and going forward, salary in lieu of pension will not be offered to new senior postholders.”

A spokesperson for the University and College Union (UCU) responded to the announcement of the salary “top ups” saying: “The actions the university has taken with Cara really undermine the case with the public for an increase in university funding.”

Cardiff Met’s new vice chancellor has confirmed to be Professor Rachael Langford who will take on the position in February 2024.