An evaluation report by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has revealed the pay and grading differences among employees of universities.
The report, which is critical to how lecturers will be paid, has put a professor as the highest paid academic staff and below a university librarian.
It has been released to all 31 public universities.
Vice-chancellors have been ranked the highest at E5, deputy vice-chancellors and principal of colleges are at E4, while the lowest ranked employee is a sweeper at grade A.
Associate professors have been ranked at E1 together with deputy librarians and finance officers, a level below registrars.
Seniors lecturers at grade D4 have been bound together with senior librarians, senior estate managers and bookshop managers, among others, with catering and hostel managers being above senior lecturers in terms of ranking.
Senior lecturers are required to have a minimum of PhD with more than 15 years of experience at the university.
And most of them have gone to lecture rooms after exiting management positions and are subjected to a string promotion criteria set by the Commission for University Education (CUE), which regulates higher education in the country.
For instance, a public relations officer of a university, a transport, garage and farm manager are senior than a university lecturer.
They are at Grade D3 while a lecturer is at grade D2.
A head of a department at a university who overseas several lecturers is in grade D3, same as a farm manager.
A lecturer is in the same category with a maintenance and operation officer, system administrator, and senior maintenance officer, among others.
An assistant lecturer is in job group D1, below a hostel officer, and a corruption prevention officer, among others.
Tough rules introduced by CUE require all university lecturers to be in possession of at least a doctorate degree in order to teach, and by January next year all lecturers must have a PhD.
The requirement could deal a blow to universities, which have been operating with lack of qualified lecturers.
A CUE audit report released this year indicated that some master’s students are teaching doctorate students.
On Saturday, Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) Secretary-General Constantine Wasonga termed the evaluation as faulty and warned that lecturers will not accept it.
Dr Wasonga said from the start they were opposed to the review being carried out by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, saying they have done a shoddy job and the exercise should be redone.
"They have created a position of dean and chairman of department in grading system yet these are positions where people earn allowance.
"We have made it clear that we will not accept it at all," Dr Wasonga said.
Lecturers said the evaluation results should encourage scholarship and retention of academic staff who drive the research, teaching, community service and consultancy functions, but that is not the case.
"The results reward administrative positions. The results make nonsense of input (academic qualifications)," another lecturer said.
Already, several universities in the country are struggling to replace retiring lecturers who hold PhDs.
CUE chairman Chacha Nyaigoti Chacha has challenged universities to produce professors who can supervise and offer quality education.
"Universities should have a viable staff training fund that is locally contributed and accessible to the young professors.
"The funds will help develop and train young professors who will take over once the old ones retire," Prof Chacha said recently during a conference at the University of Nairobi.
A report by the commission indicates that for the last one year, close to 6,000 students enrolled in universities for PhDs, but only 369 graduated.
Kenya has less than 10,000 PhD holders and requires 1,000 PhDs per year in order to condense the student to lecturer ratio.