Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Australian Higher Education Paradox of Pay

How many times do you hear about an employer who says, "We haven't been paying our employees enough," and the union says, "Oh, yes, you have. You're paying plenty."?

That is what is happening in Australia [h/t to BF for the pointer]:

Education Minister Brendan Nelson yesterday seized on a report that shows some academic salaries have failed to keep pace with inflation to urge universities to embrace the Howard Government's push for more flexible workplace arrangements or fall further behind.

Dr Nelson said the report explained why universities were failing to attract and retain talented academics.

"Unless universities can be more competitive in the international labour market and offer better career opportunities to attract the best young academics, the long-term quality of higher education is at risk," Dr Nelson said. "The report confirms that institutions have been finding it increasingly difficult to fill positions at both entry level of the salary range (associate lecturer) and the top end (professor).
At the same time, the union is saying, "Oh, no, you don't. We did a good job for our workers."

Unions yesterday described academic salaries as high by international standards, accusing Dr Nelson of attempting to undermine strong wage growth delivered by enterprise bargaining.

National Tertiary Education Union assistant secretary Ted Murphy said academic salaries reflected strong results from enterprise bargaining.

"The data indicates that academic salaries in Australia are higher than most Commonwealth countries including Canada, the UK and New Zealand, but lower than Singapore," he said.
Pretty amusing set of incentives that brings this about.
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