Pay in Higher Education and at the University

Pay at the University

Staff working at Oxford are entitled to some of the best benefits and conditions in the sector. We are committed to offering staff a pay and benefits package that is equitable, fair and appropriately reflects our standing as a world leading University.

 As an employer Oxford spends around a half of its annual income on pay. 


All staff receive an annual nationally negotiated pay increase, and because of the incremental pay structure, many staff also receive an additional service based increment of around 3%. In 2020/21 non-clinical staff received an average pay increase of 1.9%. 


For every pound spent on salary, the University also spends an additional 6-10% (OSPS) or 21.1% (USS) on pensions.

Example University pension contributions:



Base salary 

Employer pension contribution Total
Grade 5.5   £29,614 £5,627 £35,241
Grade 8.5   £47,419 £10,148 £57,567


The pension schemes offer a number of benefits and allow members to make additional voluntary contributions to secure additional benefits.

The University offers an enhanced entitlement to 38 days’ annual leave per year (pro-rata for part-time staff), inclusive of bank holidays and fixed closure days. Additional long service leave is available after 5 years’ service. An additional scheme, enables you to request to purchase up to ten additional days’ annual leave in each holiday year. 

We offer one of the most generous Family Leave policy in the sector with 26 weeks’ full pay as a day one benefit.

There are a number of opportunities to increase take-home pay through our salary sacrifice schemes. These include transport and University nurseries.

Staff working within the Higher Education sector are also entitled to some often overlooked excellent benefits and conditions.

Pay in Higher Education

The sector faces unprecedented financial challenges and some major uncertainties. While these matters are causes for serious concern, we remain committed to sustaining excellent pay and benefits as part of our attractive and competitive total reward package.

Staff costs are the largest expenditure across the HE sector, and they continue to rise year on year. 

In June 2019 UCEA commissioned independent calculations looking at the real-terms change in the value of the New JNCHES pay spine. Independent calculations showed that all pay spine points had kept pace with inflation since 2013-14 and that the lowest points had increased by 6% ahead of inflation in this period, using the official measure of consumer inflation. 

Oxford has supported the pay outcomes from the collective bargaining arrangements and we were pleased to see that the independent calculations indicated that in the most recent pay rounds to 2019 the value of pay points has not declined in real terms at all.

Many pay awards have resulted in the targeting of higher increases at the lower end of the pay structure. Oxford welcomes this approach and further demonstrates this with our commitment to paying the Oxford Living Wage to all employees.