There have been quite some controversies about the salaries of university leaders, especially those in the public sector. Philip Altbach and his colleagues from the Boston College Center for International Higher Education have now published a report comparing the salaries of academics around the world. Here are the results, summarised in one single picture:


Conclusion? It pays of to work hard in order to get to the top, especially in South Africa, New Zealand and above all, Saudi Arabia. Not so in France and Germany (surprise?). Furthermore, an advice for academics who aspire to have an international career and want to maximise their salaries: look for extreme weather conditions. They would be best of to start their career in Canada and end up in the global classrooms in the Saudi Arabian desserts.

In addition to offering high salaries for top academics, Saudi Arabia is also actively recruiting scholars from Europe and North America. Global Higher-Ed has a post on a faculty recruitment video of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. Conveying a ‘unique semi-territorialized live-work-play message’ they target a mobile “world class” faculty base to come and live, work and play in Saudi Arabia. I’m sure that an average monthly top-level salary of US$8,490 helps. But then again, there are other things that count as well…

This article has 20 comments

  1. Kris


    Yes, I agree – the is much more that counts than just salary. Plus we need to factor in all of the variation in direct and indirect benefits that are sometimes accounted for by universities (e.g., pensions) and sometimes not (e.g., access to social welfare programs and services which often vary by citizenship status), but also indirect costs (e.g., necessity to travel to see family).

    From the state’s perspective, high salaries can also ground mobile faculty or mediate criticism. This article:

    Clammer, John (2001) ‘The dilemmas of the over-socialized intellectual: the universities and the political and institutional dynamics of knowledge in postcolonial Singapore’, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 2(2): 199-220.

    attends to some of the latter dynamic.

    My only criticism of your otherwise fine entry is why pick on Canada!! The weather is no worse than Norway or Sweden, and look what it brings with it as an added benefit – curling and ice hockey!

  2. Kate

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  3. Pingback: International Comparison of Faculty Salaries « Scott Sommers’ Taiwan Blog

  4. Someone from HK

    Funny that these surveys seldom include that of Hong Kong, which to me seems to be the highest. For example, the starting point of a full professor in Hong Kong is HKD75,745/month and the ceiling is HKD100,625/month, and the average is HKD88,210/month. The minimum of a Chair Professor is HKD103,635. The tax is capped at 15%. Yes, I do meant one five. It is for sure the highest salary in South East Asia, and also higher than that in the US and the UK. There are also fringe benefits such as housing allowance, medical allowance, children education allowance, etc.

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