Sunday 18 March 2018

Top talent won't come here because taxes are too high, says TCD dean

TCD business dean Andrew Burke
TCD business dean Andrew Burke
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

International academics have expressed interest in joining the faculty at Trinity's new business school, but have been put off by the ceiling on professors' salaries and the high rate of personal income tax, the school's dean has said.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Andrew Burke said the Government micromanages too much in the third level sector, with regulation "constraining what you can and can't do".

Trinity was given the green light from the planners last year for its new €70m business school development, which is due to open for students in 2018.

Mr Burke said the school has managed to get around the salary ceilings for professors by appointing at associate professor grade.

But he added: "I've had a number of conversations where really top profile professors have heard about what's happening in Trinity and have expressed an interest in joining us, and when I've mentioned the pay cap, they've already worked out the taxation, so they're already primed to ask the question, how are you going to compensate for the taxation?

"I've said we have a cap, and I can probably make a case for x percent, but I'm not sure how far it will go. A lot of those conversations just ended on the spot."

Professors at TCD can earn up to €136,276, while the ceiling for associate professors is €103,261.

"If we talked about setting up a world class sports team in Dublin, and we provided that team with a world class stadium, a world class backroom staff, all the technology, but we placed one constraint. We said 'you cannot pay more than half of what your international competitors are doing'. We all know that it will be an absolute non-starter," he said.

"And yet, that's the situation that business schools in Ireland find themselves, particularly at the professorial level. We're not competitive at the top level."

Mr Burke said that after tax, business school Associate Professors' salaries outside of Ireland are higher than salaries for full (chaired) professors here.

"So if we are to attract top international talent to Ireland in order to generate export earnings to fund our business schools, bearing in mind that in seven years time around just 10pc of our business School income will come from the taxpayer - then we need to be able to compete in the international labour market," he added.

"The irony is that removing the wage cap would enable Irish business schools to attract more top international talent to capture more global market share which generates extra private income to both fund their own activities and make an additional surplus which could help plug the funding shortage in other parts of universities, ie save the taxpayer money."

You can read the full interview here

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