Inflation Off Puts Largest Faculty Pay Hike in 3 Decades
According to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), full-time faculty pay across higher education increased appreciably over the 2022-2023 academic year. The 4.1% year-over-year wage hike is the largest for U.S. college and university full-time faculty members in over 30 years. But inflationary pressure has significantly impacted the actual pay for these employees.
Over the same academic year, the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources reported a 1.11% increase in median salaries for the entire U.S. higher education workforce. As per the organization, this is the largest one-year pay increment for the sector in the last 7 years.
The AAUP report showed that a full-time professor and their full-time assistant earned $149,600 and $88,600 respectively, on average. The average pay for full-time professors and their assistants at public colleges and universities was $140,400 and $87,300, respectively.
Their full-time counterparts in the private sector, including non-profits and institutions with no religious affiliation, earned tens of thousands higher ($188,400 for professors and $106,600 for assistant professors).
Despite these historic pay gains, persistently higher inflation rates mean most faculty members earn less.
The urban consumer price index (CPI) jumped 6.5% over the same research period. As per AAUP’s calculations, the higher cost of living reduced the latest pay rise for full-time faculty employees to a 2.4% decline in actual wages (6.5%-4.1%).
The academic year 2022-2023 isn’t the first time high inflation put a dent in faculty salary increments. Such inflationary pressure has been on for the past three consecutive years, according to AAUP.
Also, with the CPI increasing 7% last year, real wages across the entire full-time faculty workforce dropped 5% over the academic year. AAUP said that these higher education employees hadn’t experienced an actual-pay decline this large since 1972 when the organization began collecting the pay data. The 7% inflation rate that year (2021-2022) was unprecedented, too, and the highest since 1982.
It was a similar story for non-tenure faculty, although its members received lower pay on average. According to the report, full-time lecturers and instructors earned $73,000 and $66,300, respectively.
The survey captured significant pay disparities across higher education. On average, male full-time faculty members earned $117,800, while female counterparts received $96,900. Full-time professorship compensated $156,800 to men and $136,500 to women.
In contrast, part-timers across all genders earned a mean salary of $3,900 per 3-credit-hour class session.
AAUP surveyed about 900 U.S. colleges and universities to compile the 2022-2023 faculty compensation report. Their findings included data for 370,000 full-time and 90,000 part-time faculty employees.
AAUP intends to release the final report in July. The organization’s senior researcher Glen Colby said that a few higher education institutions might make late data submissions or request minor changes to the information they’ve already shared. However, he expects that any such modifications will be insignificant enough not to dramatically impact the preliminary findings.
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