The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2022-23


Published June 2023.

This year’s Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession examines the economic conditions of the academy in a year that has seen both the World Health Organization and the US government declare an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report documents the economic status of both full- and part-time faculty members in a year when the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 6.5 percent from December 2021 to December 2022, following a 7.0 percent increase the previous year, which was the largest percentage increase since 1981. Furthermore, this report revisits the findings of the 2020–21 annual report, which documented institutional responses to COVID-19 during the first year of the pandemic, including salary freezes or reductions, elimination or reduction of fringe benefits, and terminations or nonrenewals of faculty appointments.

The primary data source is the AAUP’s annual Faculty Compensation Survey (FCS), a national survey completed by US college and university administrators. The report also incorporates data from the US Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) database and other sources.

Data collection for the AAUP’s 2022–23 Faculty Compensation Survey concluded in March, with nearly 900 US colleges and universities providing employment data for approximately 370,000 full-time and 90,000 part-time faculty members; more than 500 institutions also provided data on senior administrators. Participants reflected the wide range of institution types across the United States, including nearly 300 doctoral universities, 250 regional universities, 200 liberal arts colleges, 100 community colleges, and 180 minority-serving institutions.

Key Findings

Provisional results were released in early April 2023, including summary tables and institution-level datasets. Key findings include:

  • From fall 2021 to fall 2022, average salaries for full-time faculty members increased 4.1 percent for all academic ranks combined, the greatest one-year increase since 1990–91.
  • Real (inflation-adjusted) average salaries for full-time faculty members decreased 2.4 percent, the third consecutive year of declining real average salaries, with a cumulative decrease of 7.5 percent from fall 2019 to fall 2022 after adjusting for inflation.
  • Average full-time faculty salaries for women were 82.3 percent of those for men in 2022–23. The gender pay gap is greatest at the full professor rank, where the ratio is 87.0 percent.
  • Part-time faculty members who were paid on a per-course-section basis in 2021–22 received an average of $3,874 per course section, a 0.8 percent increase from 2020–21, when the average pay was $3,843, but an 8.9 percent increase from 2019–20, when the average pay was $3,556.
  • From fall 2019 through fall 2022, median presidential salaries increased 9.6 percent in nominal terms, compared with a 7.1 percent increase in average salaries for full-time faculty members during the same period.
  • The number of faculty members employed on contingent appointments decreased by over 57,000 (6.9 percent) from fall 2019 to fall 2020, and contingent faculty employment has recovered by only about 25 percent in fall 2021.
  • The number of graduate student employees plummeted during the COVID-19 pandemic, decreasing by 13,551 (3.7 percent) from fall 2019 to fall 2020 but then recovering by 90 percent in fall 2021.

Report Highlights

This is the sixty-fourth Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession since the AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey program was established in 1958. The report includes two tables presenting annual full-time faculty salary growth by rank in both nominal and real terms from 1972 to the present, a figure examining the downward trend of average full-time faculty salaries from 2000 to the present, an explanation of statistical data, and eighteen summary tables that allow for comparisons among different categories of colleges and universities, including: 

  • Average percentage change in salaries for all full-time faculty [Survey Report Table A]
  • Average percentage change in salaries for continuing full-time faculty [Survey Report Table B]
  • Salary differences by institutional category, control, affiliation, and region [Survey Report Tables 1, 2, 4, and 5]
  • Gender differences [Survey Report Tables 3, 6, and 7]
  • Retirement benefits [Survey Report Table 8]
  • Medical benefits [Survey Report Table 9]
  • Dependent tuition benefits [Survey Report Table 10]
  • Administrator salaries [Survey Report Tables 11, 12, 13, and 14]
  • Part-time faculty pay [Survey Report Table 15]
  • Part-time faculty benefits [Survey Report Table 16]

Beyond presenting the results from this year’s Faculty Compensation Survey, this report highlights concerns about an increased reliance among US colleges and universities on faculty members holding contingent appointments that are ineligible for tenure, as well as graduate student employees who function as faculty members. This report has also documented the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education combined with back-to-back years of inflation, as well as the impact of increasing political and corporate intrusions. These events are shaping collective consciousness in US academe, as evidenced by fifteen academic worker strikes in the US in 2022—the greatest number in at least twenty years, according to The Guardian. Such upheavals—along with the continued declines in real wages of faculty members, growth in reliance on faculty members on contingent appointments, gender pay inequality, and appallingly low pay for adjunct faculty members—diminish the ability of colleges and universities to attract and retain talented faculty members, threatening the standards of the profession and the success of institutions in fulfilling their obligations to students and to society.

The AAUP’s Department of Research will continue to support efforts to uphold the standards of the academic profession by documenting the economic status of the profession through its annual Faculty Compensation Survey, producing reports such as its 2023 “Tenure and Contingency in US Higher Education,” developing interactive data tools on its website, and conducting other research on the academic workforce and issues of academic freedom, tenure, and governance.

Data Components Now Available

  • AAUP chapter and conference leaders may order full datasets and research portal access free of charge and institutions may purchase data products for a fee.
  • 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.
  • Download appendices that provide average pay and benefits data for each participating institution. Important: The appendices are designed to be viewed as two-page spreads. If your web browser doesn't offer an option to view as a spread, please download the PDF and reopen it after saving.

Download the report as a PDF.

Download the appendices.

Important: The appendices are designed to be viewed as two-page spreads. To view the appendices as a spread, please download the PDF and reopen it after saving.