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AAUP Report Documents the Largest Decrease in Real Wages on Record

Today, the AAUP released the 202122 Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, which collects the latest round of findings from the AAUP’s annual Faculty Compensation Survey. Data collection for the survey concluded in March 2022, with over 900 US colleges and universities providing employment data for more than 370,000 full-time and 90,000 part-time faculty members as well as senior administrators at over 500 institutions. 

Key Findings

  • From 2020–21 to 2021–22, average salaries for full-time faculty members increased 2.0 percent, consistent with the flat wage growth observed since the Great Recession of the late 2000s. 
  • Real wages for full-time faculty fell below Great Recession levels in 2021, with average salary falling to 2.3 percent below the 2008 average salary, after adjusting for inflation.
  • Real wages for full-time faculty members decreased 5.0 percent after adjusting for inflation, the largest one-year decrease on record since the AAUP began tracking this measure in 1972. 
  • In 2021–22, 97.2 percent of full-time faculty members were covered by retirement plans, a 2.8 percentage point increase from 2020–21.
  • Institutions reported full-time faculty salaries for women that are 81.9 percent of those for men in 2021–22, on average. The gender pay gap is greatest at the full professor rank.
  • From 2019–20 to 2021–22, the number of full-time women faculty members increased 1.6 percent, compared with a 2.5 percent decrease for men.
  • In 2020–21, average pay for adjunct faculty members to teach a course section ranged from $2,979 in public associate’s institutions without ranks to $5,557 in public doctoral institutions.
  • In fall 2020, about three in five (61.5 percent) faculty members were on contingent appointments. 

This is the sixty-third Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession since the AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey program was established in 1958. Results of the survey are published in April for the current academic year with a full Annual Report published in July. The report and associated data can be found on the AAUP website at https://www.aaup.org/our-work/research/FCS

Real wages for full-time faculty fell below Great Recession levels in 2021, with average salary falling to 2.3 percent below the 2008 average salary, after adjusting for inflation. 

Source: AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey, US Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index retroactive series (R-CPI-U-RS).

Full-time faculty salaries for women that are 81.9 percent of those for men in 2021–22, on average. The gender pay gap is greatest at the full professor rank. 

Note: Salary equity ratio is the ratio of women’s to men’s average salaries, multiplied by 100.
Source: AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey.

The percentage of full-time faculty members who are women has grown to nearly half (48.1 percent), but representation decreases with progression in rank.

Source: IPEDS Human Resources survey component 2020–21 provisional release. Data compiled by the AAUP Research Department.

About one in five (19.5 percent) full-time women faculty members are full professors, compared with one in three (32.5 percent) men.

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Source: IPEDS Human Resources survey component 2020–21 provisional release. Data compiled by the AAUP Research Department.

About three in five (61.5 percent) faculty members are on contingent appointments.

Source: IPEDS Human Resources survey component 2020–21 provisional release. Data compiled by the AAUP Research Department.

 

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, June 21, 2022