TaxPayers' Alliance reveals over 4,000 university staff on £100k

Embargoed: 00:01 Thursday 12 November

The TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) has revealed that a total of 4,112 staff at British universities taking home over £100,000 each year between 2019 and 2020, an increase of 14 per cent from the previous year. It comes after Vice Chancellors demanded a £2 billion government bailout this spring, and encouraged students to return to university halls in September before teaching then moved online.

The London School of Economics had the most high earners, where 306 staff received over £100,000 in total remuneration, 109 of which received over £150,000.

The report highlights there is no correlation between the number of highly paid staff at a university and it achieving excellent student satisfaction rates, questioning universities’ value for money. 

Universities are funded by both taxpayers and students (including graduates) directly. Because of this mixed form of funding, the university sector is spared the scrutiny usually applied to other institutions.

The figures should encourage students to press for the best value from their tuition fees, as well as help taxpayers hold universities to account for the money they are spending.

Click here to read the paper and full dataset


Key Findings:

  • In 2019-20, there were at least 4,112 university staff with total remuneration of more than £100,000. Within this group, there were 860 on more than £150,000. 

  • This compares to 3,615 and 762 respectively in 2018-19. This represents an increase of 14 per cent for those on more than £100,000 and 13 per cent for those on more than £150,000 in total remuneration

  • The university with the greatest number of employees whose remuneration was in excess of £100,000 was the London School of Economics, with 306 employees. This was also the university which had the highest number of employees receiving over £150,000 at 109

  • The average number of employees who received over £100,000 in total remuneration per university is 44. The average number receiving over £150,000 is 9 employees per university.

  • The Open University made loss of office payments totalling £347,696, the highest single pay out being £128,575.

Click here to read the paper and full dataset


Scott Simmonds, researcher at the TaxPayers' Alliance and author of the paper, said:

"These rankings reveal the thousands of university bosses taking home very plush pay packets despite begging for a covid bailout.

"Taxpayers and students will be left with more than a degree of uncertainty over whether this is money well spent - especially when students are paying a premium to be locked up in halls with no face-to-face teaching.

"Instead of blaming covid, uni bosses need to get these steep salaries under control and focus on providing students with the very best higher education they can during the pandemic."

TPA spokesmen are available for live and pre-recorded broadcast interviews via 07795 084 113 (no texts)

Media contact: 

Danielle Boxall
Media Campaign Manager, TaxPayers' Alliance
[email protected]
24-hour media hotline: 07795 084 113 (no texts)

Notes to editors:

  1. Founded in 2004 by Matthew Elliott and Andrew Allum, the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) campaigns to reform taxes and public services, cut waste and speak up for British taxpayers. Find out more at

  2. TaxPayers' Alliance's advisory council.

  3. The TaxPayers' Alliance publishes the University Rich List annually. Last year’s report showed that an average of 3,615 staff took home over £100,000.

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