Ten staff members at Queen's University Belfast earn more than £150,000 annually, a new report has revealed.
The TaxPayers' Alliance today published its 2020 University Rich List. It ranks Queen's 96th in the UK top 100 for staff salaries.
During 2019-20 Queen's paid out £150,000 or more to 10 employees. Ulster University did not appear on the list.
According to the right-wing pressure group, there was an average of 4,112 staff members at UK universities taking home salaries of £100,000-plus, a rise of 14% from 2018-2019.
The figures come amid controversy that students at universities across the Irish Sea are not getting value for their fees, with teaching largely done online remotely off-campus.
Back in the spring vice-chancellors at some universities demanded a £2bn Government bailout, and encouraged students to return to university halls in September, before teaching then moved online.
None of Queen's top earners have been identified. However, the university's vice-chancellor Professor Ian Greer revealed in 2018 his basic salary was £295,000 a year.
Speaking at the time, the vice-chancellor told the BBC his total earnings were similar to his predecessor Professor Patrick Johnston, who died in 2017.
"I want to be open and transparent, so I am happy to say my basic salary is £295,000 per year," he said.
"There's an additional £6,000 for employer's costs and that's my total remuneration package."
Queen's declined to comment on the TaxPayers' Alliance report and directed this newspaper to its own annual report, which revealed that it paid a total of 28 staff members between £100,000 and just under £140,000.
Ulster University was asked to provide salary figures. A response was not received at the time of going to press.
According to the TaxPayers' Alliance report, London School of Economics had the most high earners, with 306 staff receiving over £100,000 in total remuneration.
Of those, more than a third (109) had received £150,000-plus.
The report also claimed there was no correlation between the number of highly-paid staff at a university and achieving excellent student satisfaction rates, questioning universities' value for money.
Scott Simmonds, author of the report, said the figures should encourage students to press for the best value from their tuition fees, as well as helping taxpayers hold universities to account.
Mr Simmonds stressed the issue had been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic, which had affected students' first term at university.
"These rankings reveal the thousands of university bosses taking home very plush pay packets despite begging for a Covid bailout," he said. "Taxpayers and students will be left with more than a degree of uncertainty over whether this is money well spent, especially when students are paying a premium to be locked up in halls with no face-to-face teaching.
"Instead of blaming Covid, university bosses need to get these steep salaries under control and focus on providing students with the very best higher education they can during the pandemic."