Higher Education Administrators Receive the Lowest Median Salary

Higher Education Administrators Receive the Lowest Median Salary Increase Since 2010

As of May 2020, the U.S. had already lost more than 20.6 million jobs due to the pandemic-induced recession. Moreover, even those lucky enough to keep their jobs experienced issues such as pay cuts, delayed paychecks, and no pay increase. According to the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, the same trend was witnessed in the higher education sector, with some of the fortunate higher education administrators only receiving a median salary increase of 0.36%. Note that this is the lowest increase that has happened in any of the sectors in the higher education workforce since 2010. Here’s some more information on this topic.

Possible Reasons for the Small Increase

By September 2020, the estimated impact of the COVID-19 recession on higher learning institutions exceeded $120 billion. In other words, many institutions of higher learning were struggling financially, and this resulted in a lot of layoffs, furloughs, and pay cuts among employees of these institutions. To help keep operations running amid the financial constraints, some of the higher education administrators offered to reduce their salaries and forego pay raises. Some of the executives, including college presidents, also decided to forego some of their executive perks to provide more finances for their institutions. This was one way to implement a budget reduction initiative that helped many U.S. institutions of higher learning to stay afloat during the pandemic. It was also an incredible way of setting a moral example for the general masses by sacrificing their finances to be used in other operations.

Other Changes in the Higher Education Administration

While some administrators did not receive any salary increment, heads of divisions received a 0.403% increase in their pay, the greatest increase in the entire higher learning sector. Other notable findings from the higher learning survey include, among others:

  • Not many women occupy higher-paying administrative positions – According to the American Council of Education (ACE), women have held less than 30% of presidencies in all institutions of higher learning since 1986. The same applies to other higher-paying administrative positions in these institutions. Instead, they are more represented in lower-paying positions. Additionally, female administrators receive lower pay than their male counterparts.
  • The number of administrators did not change significantly – While the COVID-19 recession saw thousands of American workers furloughed, the size of the administrator workforce in higher learning remained nearly the same. More specifically, the number of administrators decreased by 0.4% and increased by 0.2% in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The increase was majorly witnessed in the masters and doctoral institutions of learning.
  • The number of ethnic minorities in administrative positions did not change substantially – In other words, the layoffs that happened due to the COVID-19 pandemic did not affect the minorities in higher learning administrations.
  • Executive perks reduced – Normally, any administrator in an executive position receives perks such as VIP treatment, travel allowances, medical benefits, and housing subsidies. However, due to the COVID-19 recession that affected the budget in higher learning institutions, the number of perks was reduced for these executives. Specifically, fewer executives received housing subsidies, club memberships, or cars.
  • Minorities make up less than one-tenth of the higher learning administrations – More specifically, Asian, Black, and Hispanic men and women make up 7% and 9% of administrators, respectively.

These are some of the reasons behind pay stagnation for higher education administrators. For more information about financial matters involving higher learning, contact the professionals at McKnight Associates, Inc today. We are ready to offer you hands-on human resource consulting for colleges, universities, medical centers, and organizations of all sizes.