The Wellcome Trust has emerged as the charity paying the highest individual salary in the UK voluntary sector for the second successive time, research by Third Sector shows.
The charity’s annual accounts for the year to the end of September 2018 show that an unidentified member of its investment team was paid almost £3.2 during the course of the year.
The individual would have earned more in two working days than many front-line charity workers would receive for an entire year’s work.
The Wellcome Trust occupied the top spot in the previous Third Sector salary study, conducted in 2017, when an unidentified individual was paid just over £3m.
It says that its decision to directly employ investment experts meant it could generate better returns and incur lower costs than if it used external fund managers.
None of the charities in the top 10 conduct major public fundraising, with the top three rounded out by the London Clinic, which paid its highest earner almost £1.3m in 2017, and the Consumers’ Association, which awarded its outgoing chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith £825,000 in the year to the end of June 2018.
Many of the organisations in the top 25 are medical or scientific charities, such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Genome Research, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
The highest salary paid by Cancer Research UK, the UK’s largest fundraising charity, was £244,000, enough to put it in twenty-fourth place.
The lowest salary in the top 25 is £237,118, paid by the Nursing & Midwifery Council.
It is important to note that the salaries in the entire study are outliers when compared with the rest of the UK’s voluntary sector, where thousands of voluntary organisations operate on a shoestring and employ very few staff on relatively low wages.