Science - November 4, 2004

DLO salaries are rising

The cuts in the DLO institutes over the past few years have lead to an interesting shift. The number of people earning relatively little has halved, while the number of high-earners has increased. The figures come from the report on personnel affairs for the third quarter of 2004 from the Human Resources Management department.

A total of 360 out of 3763 jobs have disappeared from the DLO institutes since 2002. The number of DLO employees that earn more than 68,000 euros did not decline however, but actually rose from 143 to 175. The number of lower paid jobs (less than 27,000 euros before tax) has halved. The number of jobs at the university has grown slightly since 2002, but the number of high earners has not risen, although there are more high earners in total at the university than at the research institutes. Just over five percent of the DLO employees have an annual income of more than 68,000 euros compared with nine percent of university employees, most of whom are professors.

The fattest wallets are to be found at the university head office and in the Social Sciences Group. Fifteen percent of the managers at head office and ten percent of the social scientists earn more than 68,000 euros. Manager at the Social Sciences Group, Dr Jan Blom, was surprised by the figures. ‘I haven’t seen the figures, but reacting quickly I can think of some explanations. Part of the reason is that our personnel are ageing. The number of jobs is not growing, so no new people are joining us, while those we have get a pay rise each year. Another part of the reason is probably that we have changed our personnel policy. The new people we take on are no longer all young people that we train ourselves, but increasingly people with more experience. We need these people to compete in the market.’

Blom’s explanation partly confirms the figures. The number of young employees at DLO is declining fast, while the number of employees over 55 is increasing. But this does not explain everything. The number of people in a salary scale above 15 (top management positions) grew from 65 to 76 jobs. That cannot just be due to ageing. Blom: ‘No, that is a surprising increase. Salary scale 15 is where the business unit leaders are, and they do not all earn that much. At social sciences, besides Vinus Zachariasse and myself, there are another three. That number has not increased.’

Blom is not worried about rising salary costs. ‘I always say, if you have to cut down a forest it doesn’t matter if you employ an expensive woodcutter, as long as he can chop down more trees. It doesn’t matter if someone earns more, as long as you can pass the increase on in the tariffs.’

Blom’s colleague Filip van der Heijden is also surprised at the figures, but is more worried: ‘That’s a big rise, also in social sciences. I have no explanation. You would think that in times like this when we are supposed to be tightening our belts people would be looking more critically at the high earners. That is quite worrying.’ Van der Heijden sees the figures as a reason ‘to examine quantity and quality in the top layer of the organisation’. / KV

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