Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Debate about whether professors at IITs and IIMs are underpaid

Business Standard presents two views. The first is from Gautam Ahuja (Ross School of Business, UMichigan). While he presents a comparison which makes IIM salaries look bad, he also makes the point that the "performance parameters" ... "are a lot less stringent" in India.

A fresh assistant professor joining a top-25 US business school would receive a pre-tax salary of about $135,000-$170,000 (Rs 67-85 lakh) plus pension and healthcare — there is no subsidised housing. There are variations within this: Finance faculty are paid more and private schools will pay on the higher end of this band. Against this, the faculty are generally expected to teach 100-150 hours per academic year. They are, however, expected to publish in the top-tier academic journals which have very high rejection rates — failure to meet these publishing standards usually implies that once your probationary period of 5-7 years is over, you are forced to leave the institution (a fairly common occurrence at the top schools). [Bold emphasis added]

The second participant in the debate is Dinesh Mohan (IIT-D):

As for comparisons with overseas engineering institutes, it’s not as though a teacher in a western university is paid industrial salaries. Most American or European elite universities, public or private, pay public-sector salaries prevailing in each country to their engineering faculty. We should also not be comparing our salaries with a few BTechs or MBAs who get high-paying jobs. We can compare our salaries only with fresh PhDs in engineering who get a permanent research job including housing. Then we’ll find that we are not so badly off.


  1. Anonymous said...

    A research univ assistant professor on an average could get 100k + for 9 months, the amounts will vary depending on subject, univ etc. A phd choosing to go to industry will earn similar amounts or more. The point being that the difference is not 3 or 4 times as is the case in India. I am talking about entry levels and not even comparing what happens later when the disparity increases more sharply.

    When there are similar jobs in industry would the govt not have to offer more incentives for academia, if it wants better people ?

    This is not a story of what a salary should be or what is too much or what everybody else is getting.

    The issue here is to attract the best people.

  2. Pranav Dandekar said...

    Agree 100% with the above comment. An additional point is that the salary of a entry-level faculty position (lets say it is ~100k) is significantly higher than the comparable public sector position in the US. In fact, it'd make the recepient of such a salary rank among the top 5% of US households in terms of annual income! I doubt that that is the case with entry level faculty salaries at IITs and IIMs.

    So both compared to industrial research/R&D positions and compared to the overall income statistics, faculty positions in the US pay much better than faculty positions in IITs/IIMs.

  3. Anonymous said...

    Dinesh Mohan is wrong, the faculty salaries in US are more than the salaries in Public sector in general.

    However, Gautam Ahuja is ALSO wrong. He paints a picture of $135-170K of entry level positions. THAT is true ONLY for Business and Law school (Business school has Finance at the upper end). For Engineering you DO NOT get those salaries, Engineering salaries are about 40% lower than that, which as I said is still higher than the public sector jobs in USA.