Background Information

Why did the existing career structure need to change?

Currently the School recognises four career steps: Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, and Professor. However, these are not utilised consistently across departments. In some, the four are treated as sequential steps. In others, colleagues are normally submitted for promotion from Lecturer directly to Reader and the title Senior Lecturer is seldom used. As the Senior Lecturer title has been retained by departments with a high proportion of women, the School is concerned that this is creating a gender imbalance in promotion patterns.

LSE has also found it increasingly difficult to attract and retain promising academics, who may be weighing up multiple job offers. The cost of living in London is also problematic. Consequently, the School has taken this opportunity to review academic starting salaries alongside changing the career structure itself.

In a nutshell, what is the NAC?

The NAC refers to a set of nine specific changes:

  • A common career path of three basic ranks
  • New job titles (Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Full Professor), which are of increasing international prevalence
  • Increased flexibility in the timing of Interim and Major Review
  • Combining Major Review and Promotion
  • Increased emphasis on mentoring, training and constructive review
  • Higher minimum salaries
  • The removal of fixed-term contract status for junior academics
  • Contribution-only pay increases.
  • Improved provision for notice periods.

For more information please refer to the NAC homepage.

How were these new job titles arrived at?

These are internationally recognised job titles prominently used in North America, Asia and throughout Europe.

What consultation has there been over this?

There has been extensive consultation with the recognised trade union representing academic staff (UCU), as well as direct consultation with Academics through the Academic Board.

When did this all take effect?

The implementation date was 1 August 2013, though the work to migrate staff from the old career structure to the new structure took us beyond this date. Any member of staff who migrated within the initial window had the associated increase in salary backdated to 1 August 2013.

Was this compulsory?

This process has been entirely voluntary for existing staff, giving them the option to individually decide whether they wish to migrate to the new structure. However, all employees recruited post-implementation have been and will continue to be employed on the new structure with the associated terms and conditions. However, it is important to note that members of staff who elected to remain on the four-tier system will have no further opportunity for career progression, meaning they will have to move to the three tier academic job family in order to achieve promotion.

Can I take the salary, but remain on our current job title, or vice versa?

In order to take the salary, an existing staff member must migrate to the NAC.

In the exceptional case of existing Readers, those migrating to the new career structure were invited to adopt the title of Associate Professor (Reader) if they wish. 

Similarly post-Major Review Lecturers who migrate to the new career structure may adopt the title Assistant Professor (Lecturer) if they wish. If you are in this category of staff, please inform HR by emailing your HR Advisor who will accordingly update you on the system. 

It is not possible to remain on the old career structure and change your job title to one under the New Academic Career structure.

Did all staff get a pay rise out of this?

If a member of staff's salary is below the NAC minimum for the relevant academic rank, their pay will rise to the new minimum salary if they migrate to the new system. If they are in receipt of a market supplement on top of their base salary and this base salary is below the minimum, the base salary will rise but the supplement will be adjusted ensuring there is no immediate overall impact on their pay package. Those whose basic salaries are already above the new minimum salaries will not receive a pay rise upon migrating to the NAC.

I am a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Reader/Professor at the LSE – how will migrating to the NAC impact me personally?

Please see the detailed migration chart for details of how each role will be affected.

Why was there no self-sponsor route to this summer's 'Light Touch Review' process for post-Major Review Lecturers?

In designing a new career structure that reduces the career path from three to four steps, it is never going to be possible to assimilate absolutely everyone into the right category just on the basis of current career stage. Post Major Review Lecturers were identified as a group who were particularly at risk of ‘falling between two stalls’, in terms of the Assistant Professor and Associate Professor roles. As such, the Light Touch Review process was an opportunity for Heads of Department and their professoriate to put forward a number of cases that they felt would correct any potential misclassifications. This was a one-off process and self-sponsorship was not felt to be appropriate, as this was fundamentally about trying to migrate people to the ‘best fit’ role, rather than simply a promotions exercise. However, the promotion round in the Michaelmas Term 2013-14 is open to include the self-sponsorship route.

Why is the LSE changing notice periods as part of the implementation of the NAC?

It was highlighted by UCU that before the NAC, the School did not explicitly set out the minimum level of contractual notice it is obliged to give academic staff regarding any changes to terms and conditions of service or termination of employment and the amount of notice academic staff are required to give the School (1 year) was deemed to be inappropriate and too long. 

As a result, for academic staff opting into the NAC, the notice period to be given from staff to the School and from the School to staff will be one full term on either side.

Please note that this represents the minimum level of contractual notice the School would have to give academic colleagues regarding any changes to the terms and conditions of employment and also termination of contraction. However, any such termination of contract will only take place in exceptional cases and only be effective once the appropriate process has been followed and concluded by the School as outlined in the Academic Annex.

There appears to be no real change for current Professors. Why were Professors asked to indicate if they wish to 'migrate' to the NAC?

Initially the School did not envisage asking Professors to do this, the only impact of significance being that for some of the lower paid professorial staff, their salary was to be increased.

During our discussions with the UCU however, the question was raised about the need to clarify notice periods and bring them in line with the rest of the sector.

Professors opting into the NAC, will only be agreeing to the new provision regarding notice periods, and, if appropriate, see their basic salary increase to the new minimum. All other existing terms and conditions (including he procedures contained in the Academic Annex) would be unaffected by a decision to opt-in.

For technical contractual reasons, the School felt that a formal "opt-in" return was required. We should have amended the original "migration options" document published on the website in the light of this change, but such was the pressure on making progress with implementation that we ommitted to do so.

What was the process and the timings for Readers to be considered to the Professor level under the fast track process?

The fast track process for considering current Readers for promotion to Professor level is the same as the existing process for promotion to this grade (please see Promotion and Review Guidelines).

There will be an extra meeting of the Promotions Committee in December 2013 to consider these cases. Candidates had submit their CV including their research trajectory (Standard Promotions Committee template) by 16 July 2013. The full timetable for this process can be found here.

If successful, the promotion to Professor will be effective from 1 January 2014.

For Readers who might be unsuccessful in this round, they can submit a new promotions case in Michaelmas 2014.

If you have any questions please contact hr.reviewandpromotion@lse.ac.uk


How do I opt in?

All academic members of staff were invited to join the NAC with an initial deadline date of 31 October if they wished to see their salary backdated to 1 August 2013. 

If you did not opt-in at that point, but now subsequently wish to opt-in to the NAC, please email your relevant HR Adviser who will issue with a new letter inviting you to opt-in to the NAC. Your decision to opt-in will take effect on one of two dates - the first day of the Summer Term or the first day of Michaelmas Term depending on the timing of your decision.

How to I register my intention to stay on my current terms and conditions?

If you did not opt-in during the initial window and have not emailed your HR Adviser indicating that you wish to opt-in to the NAC

I’m not sure about whether to opt-in or not. Who can I speak to for advice and where can I get further information about this?

You can speak to your Head of Department, HR Partner or HR Advisor. 

Will I be able to change my mind and opt out at a later date?

Whilst there was a brief window when Assistant Professors were able to opt-out of the NAC after previously opting-in, this was only for a limited period of time and was the result of a change in policy regarding Major Review. 

Other than as occurred during the aforementioned period, members of staff who have decided to opt-in to the NAC will not be able to revert back to their previous terms and conditions of employment.


Why doesn’t this apply to research-only or teaching-only staff?

Competition for career-track academic staff is on an international level; the recent RQIF exercise has demonstrated how difficult it can be to recruit the best academics that are sought after by a number of leading institutions. This same aggressive competition across an international playing field is not mirrored across more specialised arenas. Equally, the equality issues that have been a concern regarding academic career progression do not have an equivalency in other areas.

The School has set up a Research Staff Committee which is currently undergoing a review of research staff, including issues surrounding parity with academic staff and their remuneration.

Why doesn’t this apply to academic support staff?

As with the answer above, the conditions and market factors are not identical for career track academic staff and academic support staff.

However, this year the School has been focusing upon other initiatives for academic support staff, such as improving contribution pay processes.

How do the new pay arrangements for academic staff fit in with equal pay?

The three new role profiles have been evaluated using HERA (the School’s job evaluation process). These evaluations have informed the design of the new pay structure for the three tier academic job family.

The School retains its commitment to the key principles of the National Framework Agreement. The Framework Agreement was the outcome of major structural changes in the sector and was also the result of growing concern about both equal pay and uncompetitive reward systems. Within this Framework Agreement, the School (as with other Higher Education Institutions) has the flexibility to make changes to Terms and Conditions to meet its specific requirements.

Some academic staff have seen their pay relative to other colleagues narrow. Why has the School not increased the pay for all academic staff?

Two anticipated consequences of the NAC are that (i) moving from four to three academic grades leads to some status compression, particularly in the Associate Professor grade and (ii) the introduction of higher minimum salaries results in some salary compression as those on lower salaries - in particular young members of the faculty and some women - catch up to more senior staff. In other words, existing relativities have changed.

Overall, we believe that the NAC represents a major and significant improvement on the current procedures. While some individuals will see an immediate improvement in their salaries, for others it will take some time to see the financial benefits in the outcome of contribution pay reviews in the coming years.

Please note that the Non-Professorial Contributions Committee (NPCC) and the Senior Staff Contributions Committee (SSCC) are meeting in the Summer Term, and will consider the salaries of academic staff, providing an opportunity to reward individual contribution and/or excellence.

Why was my Teaching Prize not reinstated as a result of migrating to the NAC?

Following a review, it was decided that Teaching Prizes were to be subsumed by the associated salary increase of migrating to the NAC. This decision was made on the basis of the fact that under the existing arrangements, on promotion, contribution awards, such as the Teaching Prize, are always factored into any promotion increase. Whilst we accept that migrating to the NAC is not a promotion, our approach in this instance merely reflects this principle.