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University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


University deans get better pay than minister

A university dean now ranks among the highest paid jobs in Denmark. Deans manage to negotiate wages that exceed that of the Minister of Science

With annual salaries ranging from DKK 1.1 to 1.3 million, it is profitable to be a dean at Danish universities, writes Politiken.

This level of salary was unknown before a reform of Danish universities in 2003 replaced a level of staff democracy with professional boards and top-down management.

According to Danish newspaper Politiken, four of University of Copenhagen’s deans make at least DKK 1.3 million a year, while four newly hired deans at University of Aarhus make DKK 1.2 million.

top managers with huge responsibilities

By comparison, Minister of Science Charlotte Sahl-Madsen, who is politically responsible for universities, has an annual salary of DKK 1.15 million.

University of Copenhagen’s Vice President and Human Relations manager, Niels Wendelboe, doesn’t consider the salaries too high.

»The biggest faculties have between 1,500 and 1,800 employees and a turnover of over one thousand million kroner, so we are speaking about top managers with huge responsibilities. This also if you compare to leading positions in private companies,« he says to Politiken.

Need to attract the right people

When asked if the resources aren’t better spent on more and better teaching, Niels Wendelboe points to the fact that the universities have to compete with other big organizations to attract the best candidates:

»As in all organizations, we would like to keep expenses down. But we find ourselves in a competition where it is crucial to attract the right people,« he explains.

It doesn’t bother Minister of Science Charlotte Sahl-Madsen that many deans make more than she does.

Minister: Salary is not everything

»We need competent deans. With all the education, tasks and responsibility they have, I can’t see that there is anything wrong with an attractive salary,« she says to Politiken.

»Also, the minister job is rewarding in many ways. The wage is not everything!« she adds.

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