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  • Where the rich professors live…

    - Canada, Italy, South Africa top off a ranking with the best paid professors at public universities. Research finds that many professors need to take on side jobs to get by. Prof Altbach urges countries to undertake greater efforts in attracting “the best and the brightest” for HE teaching.

    A team of American and Russian researchers from Boston College and Higher School of Economics compiled data on how much professors are paid at public universities. Leading up to next month's publication "Paying the Professoriate", the authors made their data available online.

    Canada, Italy top, France, Japan flop

    28 countries from all over the world entered their sample and revealed some remarkable results. Most fortunate are lecturers in Canada ($7196), Italy ($6955) and South Africa ($6531). Corrected for purchasing power (PPP) capturing costs of living, university teacher salaries are the highest in these countries.

    Professors from the Netherlands ($5313) are located in the upper middle field together with Germany ($5141) and Norway ($4940). British ($5943) and American ($6054) teachers fair slightly better while France ($3484) and Japan ($3473) offer few perks for highly qualified teachers. German professors, however, may see their fortunes rise soon. Only recently the Federal Court of Germany ruled that the current base pay of €3900 is unconstitutional.

    Many professors need side jobs to get by

    Philip Altbach, Director of the Center of International Higher Education at Boston College, gave an interview to Russia Today (RT) elaborating on the findings. "You can tell the health of a higher education system by whether it can recruit the best and brightest within society. In low-paid countries, academics get as much moonlighting in a second job as they get for their normal salary. In average-paid countries, most rely on some extra work, which is ultimately bad for the system as they are not fully focused on their main role."

    However, even if salaries are relatively high corrected for living costs, an international dimension contributes to the phenomenon of brain drain. Altbach comments that "even where academic salaries compare relatively well with general wages, as in India, the much higher base salaries in North America or Europe lure many Indians abroad."

    Overall, universities were often losing out on the brightest minds simply because the private sector pays better. "Even the salaries of law professors, who are paid a third more than other professors, do not compare favorably to someone employed at a half-decent law firm. School superintendents will earn much more than the people training them at universities. The top of the professoriate are part of a global labor market for academics. Their salaries can be very high, but this is not true for the vast majority," argues Altbach.

    Full ranking

    1. Canada ($7196)
    2. Italy ($6955)
    3. South Africa ($6531)
    4. India ($6070)
    5. United States ($6054)
    6. Saudi Arabia ($6002)
    7. United Kingdom ($5943)
    8. Australia ($5713)
    9. Netherlands ($5313)
    10. Germany ($5141)
    11. Norway ($4940)
    12. Israel ($4747)
    13. Nigeria ($4629)
    14. Malaysia ($4628)
    15. Argentina ($3755)
    16. France ($3484)
    17. Japan ($3473)
    18. Brazil ($3179)
    19. Colombia ($2702)
    20. Turkey ($2597)
    21. Czech Republic ($2495)
    22. Mexico ($1941)
    23. Latvia ($1785)
    24. Kazakhstan ($1553)
    25. Ethiopia ($1207)
    26. China ($720)
    27. Russian Federation ($617)
    28. Armenia ($538)