A molecular biologist has decided to quit his university post to become a
plumber and earn more money.
After discovering how much his local plumber earned, Karl Gensberg decided
to swap his 13-year academic career – for which he earned £23,000 a year – for
a toolbox and a chance to double his salary.
The PhD graduate is by no means the only academic leaving the profession to
earn more money elsewhere, according to Paul Rees of the Association of
University Teachers (AUT).
"There is an increasingly big problem of academics quitting completely
and going into different professions, many of which have a lower social
standing," he said. "This means there is a growing recruitment and
retention problem and the quality of higher education is in decline."
Other examples he cited of staff leaving included a social sciences lecturer
who threw it all in to train racing greyhounds, and a lecturer in industrial
relations who is moving to Canada to find a better-paid job over there.
There has long been a ‘brain drain’ problem, with British academics being
enticed abroad by better pay. But Rees claims the situation is getting worse,
with the number of people going abroad rising by 50 per cent in the past three