2020-21 Faculty Compensation Survey Results

AAUP | 2020-21 Faculty Compensation Survey Results: An Overview

In the U.S., the COVID-19 recession has hit institutions of higher education particularly hard. For instance, the pandemic has caused the average salaries for full-time faculty members to decrease for the first time since the 2008 Great Recession. Besides salary cuts, many colleges across the country have cut programs and furloughed some of their employees to ensure continuity amidst the pandemic-induced recession. For instance, as of July 2020, about 218 colleges in the U.S. had either furloughed workers or cut salaries. It’s worth noting that inflation, too, is partly responsible for the lower faculty salaries. With that in mind, here’s a detailed look at the AAUP| 2020-21 Faculty Compensation Survey results

Statistics on Full-time Faculty Wages

During the 2020-21 academic year, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) recorded the lowest increase in salaries for full-time faculty members since 1972. Although the average wages grew by 1%, the real wages reduced by 0.4% due to the effects of inflation. This represented the first decrease ever since the 2011-12 academic year. Some of the notable findings from the survey include:

  • Salaries for faculty members in doctoral institutions increased by an average of 0.6%. Even so, the real wages decreased by 0.8% after adjusting for inflation.
  • Salaries for public and religiously affiliated institutions grew by 1.1% and only increased by 0.2% for private and independent ones.
  • Average salaries decreased by 42% of colleges and universities. After adjusting for inflation, 68% of institutions recorded a decrease in their real wages.
  • Associate’s institutions with faculty ranking systems recorded a 1.7% increase in their average salaries and a 0.3% increase in real wages. However, after adjusting for inflation, those without faculty ranking systems recorded a 2.7% decrease in their average salaries and a 4.1% decrease in real wages.
  • Statistics on Institutions’ Response to the COVID-19 Recession

    Here is a look at more specific statistics surrounding institutions’ response to the COVID-19 recession:

  • About 60% of institutions froze or reduced salaries for their faculty members
  • Nearly 10% of the institutions furloughed part of their faculty
  • Some institutions took certain actions for tenure-line faculty, including implementing early retirement programs
  • About 5% and 20% of the surveyed institutions did not renew terminated contracts for some tenure-line and non-tenure-track faculty, respectively
  • About 30% of institutions either eliminated or reduced some form of fringe benefits for their faculty members
  • About 50% of the institutions made tenure-clock changes for some tenure-track faculty members
  • Statistics on the Number of Full-time Faculty Members

  • The number of full-time faculty members reduced by 5% in at least 26% of the institutions
  • The number of full-time faculty members in public institutions increased by 0.1% but decreased by 0.6% and 2.4% in private and religiously affiliated institutions, respectively
  • Overall, the number of full-time members of faculty decreased by 0.3%
  • The number of faculty members in doctoral (Ph.D.) programs increased by 0.8% but decreased 2.2%, 1.6%, and 3.1% in master’s, baccalaureate, and associate’s programs, respectively
  • About 62% of institutions recorded a decrease in the number of their full-time faculty members

That’s a detailed look at the 2020-21 Faculty Compensation Survey results involving 929 tertiary institutions across the U.S. Looking for a consulting firm with experience working with salary, legal, and other human resources issues?  Then don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at McKnight Associates, Inc. We are ready to offer you hands-on human resources consulting for colleges, universities, medical centers, and organizations of all sizes.