The problem with pay in universities.

Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union is set to release the first report from our 2022 State of the Sector survey entitled ‘The problem with pay in universities’.

In it, report authors Dr Charles Sedgwick and Eliza de Waal say “Pay in universities is not experienced as a genuine, honest and transparent way to recognise important skills, dedication, and care integral to a university. Rather, pay is a grudging compensation in a system driven by managerial distrust of academic and professional and general staff.”

“Half of the university academic respondents to the Sector survey were very dissatisfied or dissatisfied with their pay rates, stating they do not reflect the hours they work and 55% have the same response when asked about whether their pay reflects the type of work they do. Forty percent of the professional/general/allied staff respondents indicated that their pay rates did not reflect the hours they worked, and 57% were very dissatisfied or dissatisfied that their pay reflected the type of work they do.”

The report contains a multitude of qualitative responses from staff in the sector, expressing sentiments such as:

“We are constantly being asked to do more with less, without recognition or reward. People do it because of their passion and commitment to the students, sometimes at great personal cost, but it’s not sustainable.”

Another respondent says:

“Six years of the same fixed term contract-being a precariat. Getting to the point of offering paper co-ordinator and still told the University can’t afford to pay me the same senior tutor pay level as a second-year tutor- being scoffed and mocked at in person for asking for a raise. I am not slave labour….”

While another said “pay and promotions are a total joke, as is any form of HR support or positive intervention.”

The report will be released on TEU social media channels on Wednesday 19 April. Journalists who would like to receive an embargoed copy and/or arrange interviews ahead of the release should email

And look out for our next report on pay in Te Pūkenga which should be out in early May.