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This is a simple question but I am not sure how to find out the answer. Where in the world are the salaries of (senior) academics published and freely available? I found this amazing web page from Canada. Is it unique?

So far we have learned: (See answers and comments for more details.)

  • Many US states give full salary details for public university employees.
  • The province of Ontario in Canada gives full salary details.
  • Switzerland gives full salary details (although no URL given yet).
  • In Denmark you can infer the salary fairly accurately from seniority and job classification.
  • In Finland (and possibly Norway and Sweden), everyone's basic tax records are public information although you can't access it online.
  • In Germany salaries for individual professors are secret, but salaries for other researchers can be inferred from public salary tables.
  • In the UK salaries for individual professors are secret, but salaries for more junior academics can often be inferred from published salary tables.

It would be great to get a fuller picture for Europe. What is the situation in France, for example?

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There is one for the state of California, probably also other US states. Can't look it up right now but it should be easy to find. – fkraiem Jul 28 '14 at 15:45
In most western countries, salaries at publicly-funded institutions are available. – Bitwise Jul 28 '14 at 16:13
@Bitwise It's not the case in the UK for example. Do you know any European countries where it is the case? – felix Jul 28 '14 at 17:43
I don't know why you ask, but be aware that comparing figures across countries is highly problematic to the point of being useless. Social systems, cost of living, legal restrictions etc differ so much that even double the table salary can mean having less money to spend. – Raphael Jul 28 '14 at 20:35
@Raphael I am interested in where individual salaries are published for a number of reasons. It seems there is a divide amongst Western countries on this matter and it would be really interesting to get a full picture. Of course the scientific question is, does it make any difference to who gets paid what and/or the quality of the academics you can attract. – felix Jul 29 '14 at 7:44

11 Answers 11

Short answer: Germany. Somewhat.

To explain in more detail, there are four common modes for researchers in Germany:

  1. Unpaid. (Typically PhD students in social sciences. Poor sods.)
  2. Scholarships. ("Stipendiat"; PhD students and post-docs)
  3. Employee of the state. ("Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter"; PhD students, post docs and (rarely) non-professor senior researchers)
  4. Civil servant. ("Beamter"; professors and senior researchers)

The first needs no explanation. The second kind is -- from the perspective of how our system used to work traditionally -- a bit of an abomination with little to no regulation. The amount of the scholarship tends to be similar to the salary employees in similar circumstances get but is, ultimately, for the awarding institution to make up.

Now, for employees and "Beamte", there are well-defined salary tables which anybody can inspect. Be aware that these are gross figures. Depending on your circumstances 30+% won't even see your bank account; you can use the provided calculators to get an idea of the parameters and results (if you know enough German).

  • PhD students usually get (some percentage of) a TVL E13 position, post-docs can get E14-15 depending on their responsibilities.

  • Senior researchers with life-long positions usually start at A13 and can move up to A16 in leading positions.

  • Professors used to get C1-4 but that was changed to W1-3; junior professors (with or without tenure) get W1, full professors W2 or W3 depending on the position.

    However, professors are eligible to negotiate for higher salaries

    • during the hiring process ("Berufungszulagen"),
    • in case of above average performance ("Leistungszulagen") and
    • when they get offers from other universities ("Bleibeverhandlungen").

    Therefore, the real salaries of professors differ wildly (i.e. by integer factors). These figures are not public, not even in one department.

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That's very interesting. So far it seems Germany and the UK are winning the "keep salaries the most secret" competition. Out of interest, is there not a Freedom of Information law in Germany that people could use to get the salary details of senior academics? – felix Jul 29 '14 at 7:46
@felix 1) To my knowledge, salaries don't differ from the table figures for non-professor researchers, so you can consider these public (implicitly), at least the gross figures. (Arguably, you have no business knowing a person's religious affiliation, health-care and pension plan of marital status, all of which factor into net figures. At least by German understanding of privacy.) – Raphael Jul 29 '14 at 9:55
@felix 2) For professors, I honestly don't know. I'm pretty sure that officials and members of parliament (and even members of department/university councils) can access the figures; if you have a complaint your representatives and/or judges could decide whether your claim has merit without you ever knowing the numbers. This would make sense to me, given my undestanding of German policy and law, but as I said, I don't know for sure. – Raphael Jul 29 '14 at 9:55
In austria the situation is quite the same. I did not find any english reference, but here can be seen what the University of Vienna pays to it's employees. – BDL Dec 29 '14 at 13:44
@BDL Thank you. What would you say the biggest "range of mystery" is? What I mean by this is the largest range a salary could be in without your knowing where it falls. In the UK it is more than 150,000 pounds I am told (from 60k up to 200+). – felix Jan 19 at 18:56

Most US states have Freedom of Information Laws that allow for people to request this kind of information of public schools. You will find numerous databases usually run by some sort of local news organization that publishes this data. E.g. The Texas Tribune Goverment Salary Database.

I don't know of a central resource for such things in the US. Public schools are typically run by US states, so the information is very distributed. Also, due to the nature of the laws, the information can be as much as a year old in many cases.

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The closest thing I know is – Christian Clason Jul 28 '14 at 15:47
@felix: apparently, the highest-paid state employee is a sports coach in many US states. And not only the highest-paid employee at universities, but the highest-paid state employee, period. – Stephan Kolassa Jul 28 '14 at 18:04
@felix Salaries of individual professors are not released in Germany. The list Jigg linked to shows the base salary, on top of which is added extra pay (usually somewhere between 10% and 40% of base salary) that is negotiated individually between each professor and the university as part of the hiring process. While the former is public knowledge, the latter is in my experience rarely discussed even among close colleagues. – Christian Clason Jul 28 '14 at 18:52
To add to @ChristianClason's point about Germany: the geographical differences Jigg brings up are due to every Bundesland (roughly like a US state) having the authority to set their W-Besoldung as they wish (within reason). In addition, older professors may still be paid according to C-Besoldung, which is generally more attractive than W. ("W" has been said to stand for "weniger", i.e., "less", although it officially is short for Wissenschaft, or "science & humanities"). – Stephan Kolassa Jul 28 '14 at 19:09
The University of Arizona has a full salary database here :… – daaxix Jul 28 '14 at 20:20

In the UK the UCU has negotiated a single salary spine that ranges from £13,953 to £58,172. Only Professors exceed the top end of the scale so it is possible to make an educated guess at the salary of Lecturers and Readers.

Each university sets their own limits where Lecturers and Readers fall on the salary spine and the exact starting point on the spine is individually negotiated. For example, the Manchester scale has Lecturers between spine points 37 and 44, while the Nottingham scale has Lecturers between 36 and 43. Readers are between 45 and 51 at both Manchester and Nottingham. I am ignoring the spine points between the standard maximum and the super maximum since progression in that region is extremely difficult (and generally results in promotion). Typically, you move one spine point a year so if you know how many years someone has been a Reader/Lecturer, then you can make a very good educated guess at the salary. For all but Lecturers who have been appointed in the past 3 years, you should be able to estimate the salary within +/-10%.

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Thank you. It is interesting that you can estimate the salary until they get to be a Professor when all of a sudden you have no idea. – felix Dec 27 '14 at 12:34

(The following answer focuses on France)


In France, CNRS researchers (largest governmental research organisation in France) are paid according to the class they belong to (monthly gross salary):

  • chargé de recherche de 2 ème classe: between 2 200 € and 2 600 €
  • chargé de recherche de 1 ère classe: between 2 300 € and 3 900 €
  • directeurs de recherche: between 3 000 € and 6 000 €.

In addition to the base salary researchers get some bonus that can go up to 1275 EUR per year:

Each grade has several levels that determine the remuneration of researchers . The gross monthly salary research managers is between € 3,000 and € 6,100 (assessments in September 2007) . In addition to the base salary directeurs de recherche receive a yearly research bonus ranging from 650 to 1275 EUR (depending on the corps and grade) and , where applicable, family supplements.


The following two Wikipedia pages contain the salary grid for Maître de conférences and Professeur des universités:

enter image description here - Professeur des universités

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Research engineers

Gross salary for research engineers working in public institutions:

Ingénieur de recherche de 2ème classe

  • Début de carrière : 1907,68 euros
  • Milieu de carrière : 2 546,66 euros
  • Fin de carrière : 3 301,39 euros  

Ingénieur de recherche de 1ère classe

  • Début de carrière : 2 694,83 euros
  • Milieu de carrière : 3 398,63 euros
  • Fin de carrière : 3 801,46 euros  

Ingénieur de recherche hors classe

  • Début de carrière : 3 046,73 euros
  • Milieu de carrière : 4 079,28 euros
  • Fin de carrière : 4 458,97 euros

For the sake of comparison, the monthly gross median wage in France is around 1717€, and the average monthly net income is 2128€.

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Thank you. Am I right in inferring that you could determine the approximate salaries of all researchers at CNRS from this table or are there some exceptions? 6 000 € seems low for the highest paid professor. – felix Dec 27 '14 at 12:31
@felix I believe so although I quit France for the USA after my Master. They might get some bonuses, up to 1275 EUR per year from what I read. – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 28 '14 at 17:22

In Denmark (and probably other countries with similar, highly centralized wage bargaining systems), salaries for faculty at public (i.e., in Denmark, all) universities are determined by a single contract negotiated between unions and the national government. All faculty in Denmark are paid according to the same scheme, which is based on a combination of seniority, job classification (assistant/associate/full), and some smaller fringe benefits. These contracts are public information. Here's the one that applies to my current position. I'm sure you could find similar documents for other countries.

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Thank you for this. So in practice, can you get enough information about an academic from public resources to be able to work out their salary? I mean is their seniority and job classification (in the sense that you refer to) a matter of public record? – felix Jul 29 '14 at 7:42
Not that I'm aware of on an individual-level, but it would be relatively easy to figure out. It's basically years in job (e.g. years since PhD) + whatever the bonus is they receive for their title. So my salary is "baseline salary for everyone" + "bonus for year two" + "bonus for postdoc". And all those numbers are reported publicly. – Thomas Jul 29 '14 at 8:58
@Thomas - There are no merit pay bonuses? So you get paid as much as the freeloader professor who has never written anything in the past ten years? – RoboKaren Nov 29 '14 at 20:07
@RoboKaren In base salary terms, research productivity is irrelevant. But the justification of salaries here is highly related to teaching - everyone teaches the same amount, so they're paid the same amount. If you're research productive (and bring in outside money), you get paid the same but teach less (due to buyouts). – Thomas Nov 30 '14 at 4:30

The best resource for info on US salaries is the annual report on faculty salaries produced by the AAUP. In most states, faculty salaries at public universities will be public information, but since such a large number of US universities are private, this information may be misleading. Further, the AAUP report also helpfully distinguishes salary info in terms of seniority, the field of research, the geographical region of the country and the Carnegie classification of the university as well. A full professor in Law or Business at a doctoral program in the Northeast will make much, much more money than a lowly assistant prof who teaches English at a community college in the South, for instance.

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As in many other European countries, salaries in Italy are not negotiated individually but are a function of academic rank and seniority.

There is a small variable component that depends on the region where the university is located. The raw tables for my university (Pisa, Tuscany) are here and here for some newer positions (all these links are in Italian only). There is an additional bonus for children and family (raw tables for my institution here).

In theory one can compute the salary of each professor from these raw data, if they know their seniority and family status. In practice, the computations are absurdly complicated unless one is a professional bureaucrat. I am a mathematician, and I'd have no idea how to compute my own salary using those tables. :)

You can get a ballpark amount from the tables here, published by an independent union expert. The net monthly salary is in column k, and the gross yearly salary is in the rightmost column.

(Quick legend: T.P. = full time; T.D. = part time; 1^ fascia = full professor; 2^ fascia = associate prof; ricercatore = assistant prof; confermato/ordinario = tenured; non confermato/straordinario = tenure track).

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Thank you. Is it right that an Italian university has no discretion to pay more to a superstar? What if Tao wanted a job? :) – felix Dec 29 '14 at 10:47
@felix As far as I can tell, it is correct. Italian universities are definitely not competitive for a superstar. :( (and probably not even for the average researcher) – Federico Poloni Dec 29 '14 at 10:51

Most (if not all) Australian Universities publish their salaries in their HR pages. A simple search of the university name + salary would bring the correct page straight away. See for example:

Just as a few examples.

Positions and salaries here are also tiered. Academic positions are:

  • A (1-8) as an Associate Lecturer with an A6 being the lowest tier that someone with a PhD will be employed,
  • B as a Lecturer (or usually a researcher with a couple of years of experience)
  • C as Senior Lecturer
  • D as Associate Professor and
  • E as Professor
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Thank you. I am not sure if I am reading it right but it seems that at the top end (professor at level E) you can tell exactly what someone is paid? If so, this is the opposite of the UK where you have no idea if a professor is being paid 60k or 200k. Did I read the tables correctly? Or is there some discretion to pay more than level E to superstars? – felix Dec 29 '14 at 10:40
"Superstar" professors will typically have individual contracts with each university and these are not made public as the rest of the salaries. Level E applies to all the other professors. – o4tlulz Dec 29 '14 at 23:07
That's very interesting thank you. Do you have an estimate for how many people might be on these individual contracts at one of the leading Australians unis? – felix Dec 31 '14 at 10:14

Also in Israel, from the website of one university (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev):

It's in Hebrew, so you can't understand much of it I guess. To sum it up:

  • Top right: Professor
  • Top left: Associate professor
  • Middle right: Senior lecturer
  • Middle left: Lecturer
  • Bottom right: Senior teacher
  • Bottom left: Teacher

In each table the rightmost column in number of years in the job, and the leftmost column is the total monthly salary amount, in ILS. So if you want to find out how much someone is getting paid, find out his rank and compare with the list.

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Thank you for this. Could you determine the salary of an individual professor from this table? – felix Dec 27 '14 at 12:28
Yes, read my last sentence. – Michael Dec 27 '14 at 13:48
Thank you. Is someone's rank public information? Also, is this sort of information available for all Israeli universities? – felix Dec 27 '14 at 13:50
Sure. Just look up their rank in their web page or CVs. They usually state their ranks. I think this information is identical for all universities. – Michael Dec 27 '14 at 13:54

In Switzerland, being a confederation (well, nowadays more like a federal parliamentary republic), there are two levels of universities: federal and state universities. To the best of my knowledge there is no nominative list of individual salaries, as the law in Switzerland typically protects personal data (or at least, tries to).

For the federal level, i.e. the ETH in Zurich and the EPF in Lausanne, the range of first salary is given in a document (in German) available on the federal government's website. The salaries are in the order of (see top of page 8) 148k-270k CHF depending on the type of professorship and other factors that are negotiated individually.

For the state level, there is presumably more disparities between institutions. For example, the university of Lausanne publishes the salaries of the assistant professors (125k) in a document on its website but states that the salaries of full professor is determined individually.

On the subject, this article in the NZZ gives comparative salaries for professors between Switzerland and many other countries.

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Thank you. At the federal level, what is the largest range of uncertainty? What I mean, is presumably one can tell from public information what sort of professor someone is. So knowing only public information, how large a range can there be in salary? – felix Dec 27 '14 at 12:33
@felix from the linked document the range is about 70k. It probably varies by field, departments, amount of external funding, etc. – Cape Code Dec 29 '14 at 3:30
Thank you very much. – felix Dec 29 '14 at 9:14

A great resource containing lots of data for European countries is on the European university institute. More detailed information on the academic careers in various countries is on another page of the same site.

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I was thinking of the same website, but it seems that the OP is looking for a salary list of individual academics. – adipro Jul 28 '14 at 23:01
@adipro You are right, I mis-interpreted the question at first. Sorry! – Federico Poloni Jul 29 '14 at 6:12

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