In job ads in the UK, a range is often mentioned as a salary, e.g. from 30k to 35k pounds per year. What exactly does this mean?

  1. Is the salary negotiable? Does the salary remain the same throughout the contract/employment?
  2. Is it increasing progressively? When and how does one reach the upper bound? In permanent positions, what happens after the upper bound has been reached?

Also, is there a difference in the calculations between fixed-term and permanent positions?

1 Answer 1


There is typically a fixed pay scale (see the UCU page, for example), but where on that scale someone starts may be subject to negotiation.

Within each job "band" (lecturer, senior lecturer) there is progression up the scale on a regular basis (usually, and usually one point per year). Typically people are promoted from one band to the next before reaching the top of the scale, but in principle you would just stop. Different institutions may place the boundaries of the job "band" in different places, but the number quoted in the advert usually corresponds to those edges.

On being promoted to full professor different rules apply, which seem to vary by institution.

There is no difference between fixed term and permanent positions.

Often a probation period will apply - there may be different rules in that time.

The salary scales are not accurate for all institutions - for example, London salaries are increased to account for the increased cost of living.

  • Still, the last spine seems to be around 60k£/year, which is lower than german/swiss/canada/US counterparts, from the information I could gather, mainly from academia.se itself, which would be around 100k/year. Do I have the wrong impression or UK salaries are indeed lower? Feb 6, 2016 at 12:31
  • Remember that doesn't include full professors at all, where the salary can go much higher. I don't have good data for other countries, but eui.eu/ProgrammesAndFellowships/AcademicCareersObservatory/… has comparisons (that are nearly 10 years old), including weightings against cost of living. Anecdotally I believe US and Swiss salaries are much higher (but in the latter case so is cost of living) but German salaries are comparable or slightly lower.
    – Ian
    Feb 7, 2016 at 18:42

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