Why would someone want to come and do this job? At the top of our list, and hopefully high on the list of the type of people we wish to attract, is the opportunity to lead a high performing, ambitious academic institution to make a positive difference to society. Through the recruitment process we will explore people's motivation to ensure that we get a good fit with what we as an institution believe in.
Underlying this, we also need to recognise that this is a job. Albeit a job with a particular calling, but most jobs come with some form of remuneration. One definition of remuneration is 'reward for employment in the form of pay including allowances, benefits, bonuses and the monetary value of non-cash incentives'. Given the amount of attention on Vice-Chancellors’ remuneration we need to find a balance which is considered fair by the type of individuals we want to attract, fits with the values of our institution and supports the new Vice-Chancellor to do their role effectively. Or put more simply, “Salary: Competitive”
A good starting point is to look at other similar institutions. In the UK, HEIs such as Surrey, Loughborough, Lancaster, UEA, York are close to us in size and rankings. Others frequently quoted such as Warwick, Exeter and Bristol are a bit larger, but we may consider competitors. The financial statements of these universities, which are published every year, show what the Vice-Chancellor was paid in terms of salary, pension and other benefits. Of course these only reflect a backward look at the market, and the emerging guidelines on senior remuneration from the Office for Students and the Committee of University Chairs may change the nature of that market. If we look overseas, and this will be an international search, US and Australian universities tend to pay more; Canadian and European might pay less. Outside the HE sector, public sector organisations tend to pay less; private sector considerably more for comparable roles. So ‘competitive’ can be different dependant on where the candidate comes from.
At this stage we are only looking at the likely range. As we identify short-listed candidates later in the process, we will want to tailor our offer. For a less experienced candidate with potential it may look different to someone who is already established at VC level. And it may be that some of the other issues such as the opportunities at Bath are more attractive to candidates. Although we consider ourselves a Top 10 university nationally, this isn't a recruitment process where we expect to be paying Top 10 salaries. We expect to compete on the attractiveness of the opportunity, not simply on price.
When I got to the end of this blog I was a bit desperate for jokes. So I will leave you with this. “I love being a maze designer. I get completely lost in my work”.