The PraxisUnico Salary & Incentives Survey, 2010/11 Summary is open to all. The full report has been distributed free of charge to those who contributed data and the summary is freely available to all from the PraxisUnico website.
The survey is available to journalists, confidentially, for reporting purposes. PraxisUnico members may still obtain the survey but a £50 (plus VAT) fee will apply, for non-members a fee of £350 (plus VAT) will apply. Please contact the PraxisUnico office if you would like a copy of the full report.
In the current economic climate, it is particularly important that Higher Education Institutions [HEIs] work together with businesses to protect and develop HEI intellectual assets and help the economy recover. Maintaining the quality of knowledge and technology transfer professionals through appropriate recruitment and retention policies, quality training and continuing professional development opportunities, should be a high priority for all HEIs and Public Sector Research Establishments [PSREs].
This second survey, produced by PraxisUnico in collaboration with Deborah Lock and colleagues at Kingston University, gives a much-needed insight into the way in which UK Higher Education Institutions are rewarding their staff within the emerging profession of knowledge transfer. This report will be of interest to managers and staff of HEIs and other public sector research organisations, as well as to those considering a career move into knowledge transfer.
The full report has been distributed to those who contributed data and the summary is freely available to all from the PraxisUnico website (www.praxisunico.org.uk). Feedback on the content of this report is welcome and will help inform any future salary surveys, please send any comments you may have to D.Lock@kingston.ac.uk or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Douglas Robertson, Chair, PraxisUnico
Deborah Lock, Executive Director (Enterprise), Kingston University
At present, the income secured from non-HEFCE and Government sources is insufficient to replace potential losses resulting from public sector funding reductions so the need to work with business and diversify income remains critical. Technology transfer, commercialisation and the exploitation of research outputs and academic expertise is one mechanism that can result in income diversification but this requires highly skilled staff with business acumen, a thorough knowledge of route to market strategies and sufficient credibility and influence to be able to work across the boundaries of Higher Education and the private sector.
This is the first survey since the amalgamation of Praxis with Unico, focuses on the salary, and rewards structures of its members. The survey is purely a descriptive exercise that aims to throw light on base line trends: it is not intended to be an in-depth analysis of the sector. Where possible comparisons are made with data from the 2007/8 survey with supporting commentaries provided by respondents used to clarify institutional comments and ideas. The data collection exercise took place between February and May 2012, and consisted of an online survey that remained largely unchanged from the 2007/8 version: Part A sought to understand the institutional context and existing rewards/incentive structures; and Part B focused on salary and role analysis. 88 emails with a covering letter which included the unique ID and log-on details for each respondent were distributed. Follow-up emails and cold-calling being undertaken throughout April and May. 40 [45.4%] responses were returned in varying degrees of completion. This is slightly lower than the previous survey which had a response rate of 48.6%.
Overall the data appears to suggest stability within the service, with 65.7% of respondents reporting that they anticipate staffing levels to remain the same over the next 12 months. 71.4% of those institutions which claimed to be expecting a reduction in TT/KT staffing levels over the next 12 months were from the Million + and University Alliance groups. Of these, 80% had experienced cuts of more than 15.0 % in the HEIF2011-15 funding round with 40% having lost as much as 50%. This, it can be argued has resulted in a re-alignment of TT/KE services as HEIs review the appropriateness of their approach. For example, of those affected by the HEIF reductions, 40% had a Research Grants & Contracts income of less than £5 million in 2010 which could be indicative of a weak IP pipeline and limited opportunities for the commercialisation. Monitoring and tracking the activity of TT/KE offices has increased by 32.4%. Although there has been a very slight increase in the number of institutions with rewards and incentive schemes in place (75.6% in 2010/11 and 72.4% in 2007/08), the reasons for not having one remain unchanged. Firstly, existing institutional policies do not allow for such schemes, and secondly, there remains some concern over conflicts of interest. An area which has shown little or no development over the last 4 years appears to be around the career pathways for TT/KT staff with 90% of respondents reporting that their institutions had no clearly defined career progressionfor this category of staff. This is something the sector may have to address in the future if it is going to attract and retain highly skilled staff.
The salary landscape appears to be one of stabilisation, with very little grade inflation evident. For example, 51.6% of respondents reported that the salary band for a Director in their institutions was between £65,000-£74,999 pa annum. Whilst a direct comparison was not possible between the 2007/08 and 2010/11 survey, this result does seem to indicate that these salaries have increased slightly e.g. in 2007/9, the salary band for a Director was £55,000 - £65,000 (24.5%). The reasons for this could be two-fold. Firstly, the recent survey had more Russell Group representation who have larger commercialisation portfolios being managed through subsidiary companies and 3rd parties and may be matching their salaries with those found in the private sector to attract highly skilled staff. Secondly, recognition across the sector that technology transfer requires highly skilled staff, who need to be rewarded accordingly. One respondent commented that Directors’ bonuses were based on a sliding scale that is between 3-10% of their annual salary, with the occasional large (in excess of £10,000) for the successful completion of a high value deal. Although what constitutes a ‘high value deal’ was not defined. Given the origin of the response, it is likely to be a multimillion commercial deal or flotation. In terms of salary-reward differential, although higher than most, the data does suggest that the Russell Group are reasonably harmonised in that there appears to be very little difference in Director salaries between those that work in RG subsidiary companies and those that are based in the institution.