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University managers get the top salaries

[From Danish site] Academic reps criticize the growth in top administrative personnel, and their earnings

The core services of a university are usually research and education. But if you take a look at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) payroll: expenses to communications, higher-level management, middle-level management, organization… administration, UCPH looks more like a city authority than an institution dedicated to higher learning and advancement.

“It seems strange to me that, it is the growing numbers of administrative managers that get the highest earnings, instead of those who deliver the core services. It provokes the people in the field, that the budget doesn’t have room for a pay increase for them. Because of that, it is microscopic amounts we argue about when negotiating salary,” says Joan Lykkeaa, union representative for lab technicians at UCPH, and the employee-elected representative of the university board.

For instance, shortly before the New Years Day’s 2011/2012, the Faculty of Health and Medicine terminated 66 administrative posts, among the core service staff due to the government’s current plan of cutting administrative costs. However, shortly after, the faculty hired three new managers: A head of Services, a Head of Operations & Maintenance and a Head of Projects Department. It was explained that more managers were needed due to the merger with the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the institutes at Life Sciences and because the faculty at the same time was investing in new buildings and modernization.

See previous article ‘Critical report points to football player salaries’.

More work, less pay, less work, more pay

The employee representatives have researched the website (salary overview) and this has revealed that 16 of the 25 highest paid staff members at UCPH are administrative bosses with no scientific background. The only scientific staff on the highest paid list are the professors, which come in on 11th, professors with special tasks come in 14th and department dentists come in 21st.

The number of administrative bosses has increased from 242 in 2011 to 253 in 2013. This is in spite of the fact that UPCH reduced four faculties to two hereby also reducing the number of institutes and, presumably, the administrative burden.

Conversely, the number of students accepted to the university has been growing as well as the number of scientific projects, causing a larger workload for the core services staff, like professors, PhDs and researchers.

Personnel director: Nothing unusual

Lisbeth Møller, the University of Copenhagen’s vice director for HR & Organisation at UCPH, disagrees with the critics.

It is not unusual to have an administrative management, including rector, deans and department heads accounting for three per cent or 300 salary-years at a university, where the total number of staff corresponds to 8,300 salary-years and a turnover of DKK 8 billion.

She explains that universities have had more administration, revision and tasks forced upon them over the last ten years. And strategic tasks such as ‘The Good Education’ project and internationalisation demand administrative support.

The University has only limited influence on what staff are entitled to in salary, as the largest portion of the salary is still fixed in national-level collectively-bargained salary agreements, she says.

See previous article ‘Universities swamped in paperwork and bureaucrats’.

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