With the Faculty Workforce Aging, Is the Pipeline More Diverse?

With the Faculty Workforce Aging, Is the Pipeline More Diverse?

Does an aging faculty population clear the way for more faculty diversity?

Like the majority of the American workforce, professors are aging, with the majority between the ages of 55 and 75.  As these mostly white male faculty members near retirement, does this mean that universities will hire more diverse faculty to complement their diversifying student bodies?

According to data from CUPA-HR’s 2017-18 Faculty in Higher Education Survey, it seems that colleges and universities are recruiting more women and people of color for entry-level faculty positions.  However, these numbers drop when looking at hires in the higher ranks.  Additionally, the survey shows that even if women and minorities are at this level, they are not paid equitably.


  • High-ranking faculty members are more likely to be white males.
  • While nearly two-thirds of instructors and half of new assistant professors are women, this percentage drops to about one-third at the professor rank.
  • Minorities are best represented in non-tenure track research faculty. Non-tenure track teaching faculty has the lowest minority representation.
  • The majority of department heads are white males.

Pay Inequities

  • For teaching faculty, women have lower salaries than men across the board.
  • However, female new assistant professors in non-tenure track research positions are paid more than their male counterparts.
  • Racial/ethnic minorities who are teaching faculty members make equitable or higher salaries when compared to white faculty.
  • While non-tenure track research faculty of color earn more than white faculty in the position of new assistant professor, their salary increases become progressively lower as they move up the ranks.

These are some of the major diversity findings of CUPA-HR’s 2017-18 Faculty in Higher Education Survey.  Looking for a consulting firm with experience working in higher education?  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.