Academic pay and ethnic minorities


A chara, – It is is difficult to see how the headline conclusion can reasonably be drawn from the Higher Education Authority survey into third-level pay as no factor other than ethnicity seems to have been taken into account (“Ethnic minorities in higher education more likely to be on lower pay”, News, October 18th).

The most obvious factor is identified in your article, which notes that the student body is significantly more ethnically diverse than senior academics. Could the factor determining pay differences here be that academics from ethnic backgrounds tend to be younger, a reflection of recent change in Irish society, and therefore hold more junior posts? It is extraordinary that such an obvious possibility was not ruled out as being the cause of the supposed “inequality”, for example by comparing age cohorts.

In the absence of such research controls, all this survey may have demonstrated is that older academics tend to get paid more and are more likely to be on permanent contracts than younger colleagues. – Is mise,


Kilkea, Co Kildare.