Executive salaries trending upwards

16/04/2008 - 22:00

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The salaries of Western Australia’s academic leaders continue to move around, often appearing to have little to link them to the past year’s financial performance of their organisation.

The salaries of Western Australia’s academic leaders continue to move around, often appearing to have little to link them to the past year’s financial performance of their organisation.

Leading the pack among the local public universities is Murdoch University vice-chancellor John Yovich, whose remuneration package hit $743,000 for the year ending December 31 2007.

That is up about 10 per cent on the $675,000 paid in the previous year year and makes him WA’s highest paid vice-chancellor for the third year running.

Based on the highest paid salaries at other universities, his package has only been eclipsed by former Edith Cowan University vice-chancellor Millicent Poole, who earned $795,000 in 2005, a number likely to have been inflated by retirement benefits.

University of WA, headed by Professor Alan Robson, had the next highest paid executive in 2007 at $615,000.

The salary package is almost 11 per cent higher than UWA’s top payment in 2006 of $555,000 and represents a steady climb from $485,000 in 2005.

Curtin University of Technology vice-chancellor Professor Jeanette Hacket received $485,000 last year, her first full year in the job, having been appointed in August 2006 after six months acting in the role. In 2006, Professor Hacket earned $335,000.

Edith Cowan University vice-chancellor Professor Kerry Cox earned $465,000 last year, 24 per cent above the comparative $375,000 in the previous year, when he replaced Professor Poole in March 2006.

In general, staff costs did not rise at the same level as vice-chancellor salaries, although the short-term tenancy of professors Hacket and Cox meant it was difficult to make a clear comparison.

Murdoch employee benefits and on costs rose a little more than 7 per cent to $128.3 million.

At UWA, staff costs were up about 4 per cent to $352.4 million, while at Curtin employee benefits were up 9.6 per cent to $274.3 million. ECU’s employee-related expenses fell more than 4 per cent to $141.3 million, from $147.5 million.

At ECU and Murdoch, staff costs are split almost equally between academic and non-academic staff, with academia having the slightest of edges.

In comparison, both UWA and Curtin were more clear cut in their staff mix, having higher costs on the academic side of the equation with an almost 55-45 split in both cases favouring the academics.

Curtin spends $23 million more on academic staff, while UWA spends around $31 million more on academic staff.

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