Oh dear - I did not make the list of The top 100 best-paid in education in last today's Irish Times! Sadly (for me) I cannot even come close to Professor BG Loftus, who is Dean of Medicine at NUI Galway, who makes a paltry €112,610 per year, and who is positioned at #100 on the list.
Top of the list is Prof Des Fitzgerald, who is Vice-President for research in UCD, who earns €263,602 - even this salary is reduced from the €409,000 he earned last year. Interesting to see that the President of UCD (Dr Hugh Brady) earns €212,755 - a full €51,000/year less than the VP. That's €1,000/week less than someone who reports to him!
The Irish Times article goes on to state that:
The education sector has 95,554 full-time staff – about 27 per cent of total public sector employment. Of these, 59,000 are teachers, 10,400 are special-needs assistants and 20,000 work in third-level colleges. The cost of teacher salaries is €2.1 billion at primary and €1.9 billion at second level. The cost of pay in the university/IT sector is €1.3 billion.
This by the way does not include staff at my own college - NCI ('cos we are outside the HEA).
Now what do I think of this? Not surprisingly, a huge amount of the Education budget goes on wages - if you look at the Irish Time article, you cannot wonder if is OK for an almost bankrupt country to be paying so many people such high salaries. The "universities say they need to pay the best to attract the best" - but my opinion is that if "the best" up-and-leave for richer pastures, there are plenty more (especially young and keen) academics ready to step into the breech. The job of a top-level academic can be done for a lot less - just look at the list and judge for yourself if (for example at random) Eamon Drea, who is Vice-president for staff (whatever that is) in UCD, is worth €202,913/year. Nice money if you can get it!
The Hunt Report is due out next month and must certainly examine the high salaries of top academics in Ireland. I do not begrudge individual academics what they earn, but in the current economic environment you don't need an MBA to figure out that we (Ireland) can't afford this. Sadly, I anticipate that it is the salaries of the mid (me) and lower paid academics that will be main targets for reduction. This bitter medicine will be a lot easier to take if the those at the top contribute a larger share.