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Dive Brief:

  • Average salaries of full-time college faculty fell 7.5% between fall 2019 and fall 2022 after adjusting for inflation, the American Association of University Professors said Wednesday.
  • The faculty organization’s findings, published in an annual report, build on preliminary data AAUP released in April. Survey results revealed average salaries for full-time faculty dropped 2.4% in the 2022-23 academic year. 
  • AAUP also documented pay differences by gender. Average salaries for full-time women faculty were about 82% of men’s in the 2022-23 year.

Dive Insight:

AAUP has tracked faculty wages for decades, but its new report reflects how they have been influenced by the pandemic’s economic fallout and elevated inflation. 

Average full-time faculty salaries actually jumped between fall 2021 and fall 2022 by more than 4%, the greatest single-year increase since 1990-91. But inflation outpaced that growth, meaning faculty whose salaries stagnated or increased by a small amount had less spending power. 

Faculty pay trends haven’t improved much over the years. When adjusted for inflation, average full-time faculty salaries in fall 2022 were 4.2% less than they were in fall 2008, the height of the Great Recession.

But full-time faculty members’ salaries varied widely depending on where they taught. The average annual pay for those at doctoral institutions was $120,246 in fall 2022, versus $87,612 for those who worked at primarily undergraduate colleges. 

Further, full-time women professors saw significantly lower salaries on average. Average pay for all faculty in fall 2022 was $117,830 a year. But women faculty only earned $96,903 annually on average. 

The gender inequity gap has actually widened in some ways — senior-level women professors earn about 87% of men’s pay, which is lower than 40 years ago, when they got 89% of men’s salaries, AAUP said.

Continued cuts to academe, combined with “political and corporate intrusions” into higher education will deteriorate the quality of American colleges.

“Faculty members must work collectively with administrators, students, elected officials, citizens, and each other to anticipate and prepare for changes coming to higher education, beginning with efforts to bolster tenure across the country,” AAUP said in its report.

Nearly 900 U.S. colleges and universities provided employment data for about 370,000 full-time faculty members and 90,000 part-time faculty for the survey.