Real Wages for Faculty Are Far Below Prepandemic Level

The AAUP has released preliminary data findings from the annual Faculty Compensation Survey, which concluded data collection in March. 

Key preliminary findings:

  • Average salaries for full-time faculty members (all ranks combined) increased 3.8 percent, following a 4.1 percent increase the prior year.
  • Average salaries for full-time faculty members increased 3.4 percent among public institutions, 4.3 percent among private-independent institutions, and 4.9 percent among religiously affiliated institutions.
  • Real average salaries for full-time faculty members increased 0.4 percent—the first time in four years that wage growth has exceeded inflation—but are nowhere close to the levels before the COVID-19 pandemic. (The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, or CPI-U, increased 3.4 percent in 2023, 6.5 percent in 2022, 7.0 percent in 2021, and 1.4 percent in 2020.)
  • Average salaries for continuing full-time faculty members—those employed in fall 2022 and remaining employed in fall 2023—increased 4.0 percent in nominal terms, and increased 0.6 percent in real terms, after adjusting for inflation.

Nearly 870 US colleges and universities provided data on more than 375,000 full-time and 92,000 part-time faculty members as well as senior administrators at more than 500 institutions. Participants reflected the wide range of institution types across the United States, including nearly 250 doctoral universities, 300 regional universities, 200 liberal arts colleges, 100 community colleges, and 180 minority-serving institutions.

You can explore the results on the AAUP's interactive data website, which includes institution-level data and tools for summarizing data by region, state, institution size, Carnegie Basic Classification, and other variables. Read more and access summary tables and appendices with listings for individual institutions here.

Complete analyses of this year’s results will be presented in the forthcoming Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession 2023–24, scheduled to be published online in June and printed in August in the Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors (the summer issue of Academe). Final datasets, including corrected appendices and datasets, will be released in July.

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, April 9, 2024