I can’t believe people are moaning about academic salaries so much!
Anything around £30k a year is a good salary. Working full time in a supermarket would get you an annual wage of around £10k. That will be around £715 take-home pay a month for working every weekend, bank holidays, working til 11pm, being back in work for 7 the next morning, doing one of the most boring jobs imaginable. That is low pay.
I am aware that you don’t need qualifications to work in a supermarket but some people have no choice other than to work for ten grand a year and get by on this.
By all means campaign for higher academic salaries, but academic careers in the UK are not by any stretch of the imagination poorly paid.
It actually depends on the supermarket, I know quite a lot of people who are shelf-stackers/working in the warehouse and get 14k (ish). Aldi are apparently very good.
Its part of working in the public sector. Pay is pants, but once you get a permanent job (although this is ever rarer) you're effectively in for life. Unlike a supermarket of course.
XJR, no one is moaning about salaries per se or defining academic pay as 'low', but rather an academic salary is 'poor' cf. to the amount of hours of work/responsibility/stress and lack of work/life balance (in my opinion anyway).
It's easy to say £30k is a good salary in comparison to a dustman or shelf stacker - but then they haven't invested 7-10 years in HE. Actually if you work out an hourly rate for an academic, based on the 'actual' hours worked, the rate of pay probably isn't much higher than many blue-collar jobs. And then if you take into the debt accumulated and wage earning years lost in gaining a HE, then the blue-collar work is probably better off than an entry level lecturer.
But if comparisons are to be made it should surely be with other professional posts?
I agree that getting an academic position in HE requires 7 – 10 years studying before you get a full-time job.
But everyone taking this 7 – 10 years of study is aware at the outset of (a) how long it will take to be qualified (b) the debt incurred (c) the salary they can expect to earn at the end of it.
Seeking an academic job is voluntary – if any of these three things put you off then you are totally free to seek a job in a different sector!
If a salary of £30k is “shit money relative to our costs of living” what does this make a salary of £10k?
Actually 10k is poverty. The official poverty line is 60% of the median income (currently 27k approx), so the poverty line is about 16k. Now obviously many people think that that is too high, and it is essentially a government target, especially given that the minimum wage is (5.52 x 40hours x 52) 11.5k.
But poverty itself is a relative measure. Talk to an international student from a developing country and you might find very different and relevant perspectives on what poverty is. The housing prices in the UK are insane, the product of a very crowded nation! European cost of living is high, but there is a great deal that is provided by the government in return for high taxes, such as health care, roads, a fire brigade, police, state education systems, etc, etc, etc.
How much do you need to live? How much "should" anyone get paid? A supermarket worker is more essential in some ways than an academic to the function of society on a daily basis.
Doing HE in and of itself is a privilege, and there are very many bright people in parts of the world that do not get this chance, due to an accident of accident of birth and life chances associated with where you are born, colour of your skin, gender, religion, etc. For myself, my motivation is NOT what I can get out of it, in terms of money. I could have made endlessly more money if I had stayed in my profession, and pursued it with a money goal in mind. I am interested in being able to contribute something--something helpful, something positive, to the world, or a small corner of it, but even the desire to do that smacks in a way of conceit.
Having lived in (reduced) student circumstances at Bleak Towers, I can tell you what I miss(ed) from my other life as a professional never had much to do with money. It had to do with the richness of a network of friends, family, colleagues, life activities, community life that was put to the side when I went to do the PhD in a foreign country. You cannot in my mind place a monetary value on those things, and a career of any sort that requires a sacrifice of those is not worth it to me. I used to be rather more single minded about wanting success of a particular sort, and not minding that it might come at some cost of personal life and relationships.
That is a cost I am no longer willing to pay. The price of success that includes a sacrifice of the things I value and cherish outside of professional life is not worth it, to me. Mind, this is only MY opinion and based on my own experiences. Others may see it well different, and that is fine, but for myself, pay is secondary to the rest of what a job offers and requires, and whether I am going to be able to have some kind of life or whether the job is expected to fill all hours of the day and night.
i heard that the UK is quite attractive for many academics, particularly those who have families. as in contrast to most other countries, you can actually get permanent jobs in the UK. they might be rarer than they have been, but in many other countries there are NO permanent jobs in academia short of professorships. becoming professor usually requires a singlemindedness that is difficult (not impossible) to combine with family life. so most family affine academics either face a life of moving around with their families every 3 years or so, living apart from their kids and partner who can't get a job in the same town, ... or moving to/staying in the UK, where they can become lecturers. not bad indeed!
my partner just started as a lecturer, 'sans' PhD yet, for 34'000 plus London allowance.
Being, hopefully, close to submission my mind is starting to turn this same question. No one else seems to have said about opportunities for academia in Australia so based on what I know here's my contribution:
if you can find a permanent post here, the lifestyle is not bad. You get 4 weeks of leave a year, the pay for a lecturer with PhD at level B (require a research record and some teaching experience) is close to A$70, think that is about 28 UK pounds.
Masters DegreesSearch For Masters Degrees
An active and supportive community.
Support and advice from your peers.
Your postgraduate questions answered.
Use your experience to help others.
Enter your email address below to get started with your forum account
Enter your username below to login to your account
An email has been sent to your email account along with instructions on how to reset your password. If you do not recieve your email, or have any futher problems accessing your account, then please contact our customer support.
or continue as guest