Human Resources

Principal's Remuneration

Information regarding the Principal's Remuneration

The role of the Principal of the University is a complex and broad-ranging. The remit combines the academic credibility to inspire, lead and recruit world-class staff and students of the University, a belief in public service, and the business acumen of a Chief Executive in what is an increasingly demanding financial environment for universities.  

The role is directly accountable for leading a top-30 globally ranked institution of over 49,000 students and more than 16,100 staff with an annual revenue of £1.3bn. The University is the third biggest employer in Edinburgh and plays a significant role in generating economic impact – £2.7 billion per annum in economic value (GVA) for Scotland and £7.5 billion per annum for the UK as a whole (2022 data).

At time of appointment the Principal’s salary was £342,000.  There is no provision for any contractual lump sum payments of any kind.  The salary was determined by the University’s Remuneration Committee which consists of experienced independent members of the University’s Court, our governing body. The Principal is not, and will not become, a member of Remuneration Committee.  The Remuneration Committee took account of analysis of relevant UK and global benchmark data for Vice-Chancellors’ pay in universities of similar size and complexity.  It was judged that this level of salary was appropriate to attract the best candidate in an internationally competitive field and that it was commensurate with the size and scale of the responsibilities of the job. 

The Principal’s salary is reviewed by remuneration committee in January each year. In the years since appointment in 2018, Professor Mathieson has refused any pay rise in 2019, 2020 and 2022.  In 2020 he took a 20% pay cut for 6 months as part of the University’s Covid mitigation. His salary reverted to full pay in 2021. No increase was offered in 2021 in line with the rest of the University.  In financial year 2022/23 he has accepted the 3% increase that was applied to all staff.