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Report Highlights Stagnant Pay, Gender Inequity, and Retirement Security Crisis Among Higher Ed Faculty

The data in this year’s AAUP Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession explores changes in faculty compensation, gender equity, and retirement security challenges for faculty. Data from the report can assist faculty members working toward greater pay equity for part-time faculty members, gender salary equity, increased state higher education appropriations, and other improvements in higher education.

Data highlights:

• Arriving on the heels of Equal Pay Day, this year’s report shows that 93 percent of all reporting institutions pay men more than women at the same rank. Previously, the AAUP took an in-depth look at persistent gender pay inequity, and many AAUP chapters, including Rutgers AAUP-AFT, are currently calling for improvements in gender and racial equity.

• Only 5 percent of reporting institutions indicated that they offer all part-time faculty members benefits. Another 33 percent of reporting institutions offer some benefits to part-time faculty.

• Between the 2016–17 and 2017–18 academic years, average salaries for full-time ranked faculty members (assistant, associate, and full professors) increased by 1.1 percent after adjusting for inflation.

• At reporting institutions between the 25th and 75th percentile, the average retirement contribution for full-time faculty ranges from 7.7 to 11.8 percent.

Data snapshots included with this year’s report examine retirement security challenges facing faculty and state funding of higher education and underfunding of public pensions. What appear to be generous retirement benefits for some faculty become less generous when considering the mobility required for early-career faculty. Also, the age at which faculty members begin saving for retirement often places them at an economic disadvantage when compared with other professionals. Drastic cuts in state appropriations have often affected faculty at public colleges and universities more than other public employees as legislators have targeted higher education budgets. While higher education provides health and economic benefits necessary to American society, these benefits are threatened by ongoing political and financial attacks on higher education. Faculty members are joining together as One Faculty, One Resistance to resist these attacks.


The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) champions academic freedom; advances shared governance; and promotes economic security for all who teach and research in higher education. Since 1915, the AAUP has shaped American higher education by developing standards that uphold quality education and ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good.

Contact: Laura Markwardt - [email protected] / 202-594-3635
              Joe Roy - [email protected] / 202-594-3640

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, April 11, 2018