Where the rich professors live…

Nieuws | de redactie
27 maart 2012 | 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 Collegeand Higher School of Economics compiled data on how much professorsare paid at public universities. Leading up to next month’spublication “Paying the Professoriate”, the authors made their dataavailable online.

Canada, Italy top, France, Japan flop

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

Professors from the Netherlands ($5313) are located in the uppermiddle field together with Germany ($5141) and Norway ($4940).British ($5943) and American ($6054) teachers fair slightly betterwhile France ($3484) and Japan ($3473) offer few perks for highlyqualified teachers. German professors, however, may see theirfortunes rise soon. Only recently the Federal Court ofGermany ruled that the current base pay of €3900 isunconstitutional.

Many professors need side jobs to get by

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

However, even if salaries are relatively high corrected forliving costs, an international dimension contributes to thephenomenon of brain drain. Altbach comments that “even whereacademic salaries compare relatively well with general wages, as inIndia, the much higher base salaries in North America or Europelure many Indians abroad.”

Overall, universities were often losing out on the brightestminds simply because the private sector pays better. “Even thesalaries of law professors, who are paid a third more than otherprofessors, do not compare favorably to someone employed at ahalf-decent law firm. School superintendents will earn much morethan the people training them at universities. The top of theprofessoriate are part of a global labor market for academics.Their salaries can be very high, but this is not true for the vastmajority,” 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)

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