According analysis published today by the American Association of University Professors.
This is consistent with the stagnation in wage growth observed since the Great Recession. But 2021-22 wasn’t just another year: factoring in 40-year high inflation, real salaries for full-time faculty fell 5%. This is the largest one-year decline on record since the AAUP began tracking this measure in 1972.
Average wages for full-time workers also fell below Great Recession levels in 2021, with the average wage falling 2.3% below the 2008 average, after adjusting for inflation.
This reduction in real salary was relatively uniform across all types of institutions and faculty ranks.
The AAUP released a preliminary version of this analysis and other faculty salary data earlier this spring.
Glenn Colby, senior researcher for AAUP and author of both reports, said Tuesday that he had fielded an unusual number of inquiries this year from AAUP chapters and other faculty groups at researching salary data and advice. They all want help arguing that their institutions need to respond meaningfully to inflation.
“I would just encourage institutions to make adjustments that maintain living standards so that we don’t lose talented people,” Colby said. “That’s the market comparison to do.”
Some colleges and universities have tried to fight inflation with short-term measures. Carnegie Mellon University said this month it was offering eligible employees a one-time payment of $1,500 to help pay for gas, food and more, for example. (It also adopts a merit increase program for fiscal year 2023.) But while such ideas are generally welcome, they fall short for many professors who have faced a combination of frozen salaries, real-world cuts or effective pay and benefits and workload increases during the pandemic — all while endowments have increased on many affluent campuses.
Jeffrey Williams, professor of English and literary and cultural studies at Carnegie Mellon, who is not affiliated with the new AAUP report, said Tuesday that instead of a $1,500 payment, “the the most progressive thing to do would be retroactive increases”. Without it, he said, salary freezes and effective reductions accumulate over the course of a career.
The new AAUP report is based primarily on the group’s annual survey of faculty compensation. Data collection for the survey ended in March, and preliminary results were released in April so that colleges and universities can use them as benchmarks to establish their own salary data for the next academic year. The message here, Colby reiterated, is that when institutions think about their costs for the next year, they should also think about “what it costs to keep faculty. This means maintaining their standard of living, not just keeping the campus open. Because after a while people start going into other careers.
an april report of the Professional Association of Colleges and Universities – Human Resources also found that “the skyrocketing rate of inflation has far exceeded wage increases for the higher education workforce”. Based on CUPA-HR’s own annual workforce surveys for 2021-2022, overall median director salaries increased 3.4% year-over-year, while salaries tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty increased by 1.6% and 1.5%, respectively. . This was compared to an inflation rate of 6.8% which continued to climb. Inflation is now above 8%.
In good news for faculty members, 97.2% of full-time instructors were covered by pension plans in the last academic year, an increase of 2.8 percentage points from a year ago. a year. According to the report, after last year’s decrease of 2.4 percentage points in coverage compared to 2019-2020, “this year’s increase indicates that some institutions may have reinstated benefits that were removed or reduced. in 2020-21 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. .” The average expenses of covered faculty members were $11,835, which is equivalent to 11.3% of the average salary of all full-time faculty members. The average institutional spending on pension plans was $11,788 per full-time faculty member, including those not covered, which is equivalent to 11% of the average salary of $104,092 for the 850 reporting institutions. benefits data.
The share of full-time faculty members eligible to participate in medical insurance plans was stable year-over-year at 94.5% of full-time faculty members, with an average expenditure of $12,461 for faculty members who were covered (or 11.9% of average salary).
The new AAUP analysis, officially called the “Annual Report on the Economic Situation of the Profession, 2021-2022,” includes additional findings on faculty gender and rank, and more.
Continuing a long-term gender pay gap, institutions reported full-time faculty salaries for women that were 81.9% of those for men in 2021-22, on average. The gender pay gap is greatest at the rank of full professor.
While some attribute this gap to “market factors” and the over-representation of women in the lowest paid disciplines, the report states that “little is known about how these market factors, and many other factors, work. contribute to gender-based salary disparities in academia, including biases in hiring and promotion practices, lack of institutional resources and support, and caring responsibilities. In any case, when pay gaps between men and women are identified, they must be corrected.
The report includes additional analysis on “gender equity,” which notes that the number (not the share) of full-time female faculty has increased by 1.6% over the past two years, against a decrease of 2.5% for men. This difference was greater at the rank of full professor, where the number of full-time female professors increased by 5.9% over two years, compared to a decrease of 1.9% for men. The AAUP warns that this statistic is drawn only from institutions that have responded to its faculty compensation survey in each of the past three years, and that men still far outnumber women at the rank of full professor.
Yet the AAUP offers a hypothesis for the increase in the number of female full professors: because men are more likely to hold positions at the rank of full professor, “it is possible that the risks associated with COVID-19 , budget cuts and changing working conditions have caused more of them to retire early.
Some 907 institutions responded to the AAUP salary survey, but only 355 of them reported per-course salaries for part-time instructors (which is typical, as colleges and universities have difficult to collect and share adjunct faculty data for a variety of reasons). Salaries per course collected are also lagged by one year, reflecting 2020-2021 rates, to ensure a full year of data. That said, the average salary per course for a three-credit course last year was $3,843 per section, an increase of 8.1% from 2019-20, when the average salary was $3,556. .
Average pay rates varied widely by type of institution, ranging from $2,979 at public institutions granting associate degrees without professorial rank to $5,557 at public doctoral institutions, the report said. He describes all these salaries as “appalling”.
Beyond pay, most paid-for-training aides received no pension contributions or medical benefits in 2020-21. Some 34.7% of institutions reported contributing to the pension plans of some or all part-time faculty members, and 30.9% of institutions contributed to medical insurance premiums.
Assistants were actually more likely to receive benefits at associated colleges, with 53.5% of those colleges contributing to their retirement plans. Doctoral institutions were the most likely to contribute to the medical insurance premiums of auxiliaries, with 55% of them doing so.
According to additional AAUP analysis of the Federal Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System, the number of casual faculty appointments decreased by 6.9% from fall 2019 to fall 2020. This includes a 2.9% decrease in full-time non-tenure track appointments and a “staggering” 8.7% decrease in part-time appointments.
With respect to the ongoing pandemic, part-time faculty appear to have experienced “a much greater negative impact than full-time faculty,” the report continues.
Based on AAUP’s own data from 383 institutions that shared figures for both years, the number of part-time faculty employed throughout the academic year decreased by 10.6% from 2019-20 to 2020- 2021.
The number of full-time faculty members increased by 1.9% among the 889 institutions that responded to the survey for fall 2019 and fall 2020.
“It’s clear that contingent faculty have been hammered” with staff reductions during COVID-19, Colby said. Meanwhile, the number of assistant professors has plummeted, likely due to the hiring freeze, he added.
Seth Kahn, an English professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania and an advocate for the rights of nontenured professors, said it made sense to him that “contingent professors had it harder for many reasons. The fluctuations registrations even made unstable workloads more unstable.”