News - September 29, 2011

Dijkhuizen top earner in higher education again

Last year, 32 academic university board members and sixteen university of applied science board members earned more than 193 thousand euros, according to a survey by education trade union AOb.

Aalt Dijkhuizen once again headed the list of top earners, compiled by AOb on the basis of the institutions' annual reports. The Wageningen UR Executive Board Chairman earned 351,102 euros last year, 332 euros less than in 2009.
The other two Wageningen UR board members were also relatively high earners, as were the board chairmen of VU University Amsterdam and Maastricht University. The best paid university of applied science board member is at Fontys, with reported earnings of 242 thousand euros.
Incidentally, Dijkhuizen thinks he doesn't belong in the list of top higher education earners as he works for three organizations, including the commercial DLO. AOb's magazine reports in an article that he threatened the union with legal action last year. 'We don't agree with AOb's analysis on principle', says spokesman Simon Vink, 'but I don't know whether there will be legal consequences.'
At present there is only a disclosure requirement: if the salary of a board member in the public or semi-public sector exceeds 193 thousand euros, it must be stated in the institution's annual report. AOb wants Parliament to hurry up with an act that will set limits to high salaries. Members of university of applied science boards would only be able to earn up to 194 thousand euros and academic university board members up to 217 thousand euros, including bonuses and allowances.
Last year, State Secretary Zijlstra announced he wanted to reclaim part of the salary of board members appointed since 2007 and on a salary of more than 224 thousand euros. He was able to take 19 thousand euros from Delft University that way last year.
Zijlstra is unable to cut the pay of board members appointed before 2007. So the Wageningen board members are likely to remain in the top 10 for a while.