Crumbs of comfort in a harsh climate

Average pay rise of 1.2% for US academics belies ‘continuing disinvestment’ in staff, says AAUP report. John Morgan writes

April 12, 2010

American academics had to be content with an average pay rise of 1.2 per cent this year as unpaid leave and pension cuts became more prevalent.

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) today published the results of its national survey of faculty pay, which show an average rise of 1.2 per cent for full-time staff in 2009-10, compared with the previous year.

The AAUP said this was “the lowest year-to-year change recorded in the 50-year history of this survey”.

The job market is tough across all sectors in the US, where the unemployment rate is 9.7 per cent.

And US academics may not win much sympathy from their counterparts in the UK. Those on the national pay spine were given a 0.5 per cent increase in 2009-10.

The findings on US pay are published in the AAUP report No Refuge: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2009-10.

“Mandatory furloughs, hiring and salary freezes, and reductions in retirement-fund contributions are all symptoms of a continuing disinvestment in the faculty,” it says.

The other key findings include one-third of responding institutions reporting that overall average salary levels decreased this year.

And the news on pensions is also bleak.

“About 14 per cent of reporting institutions have reduced contributions to faculty retirement programmes, and a few eliminated retirement contributions entirely,” the AAUP says.

“These changes provide limited savings for the institutions, but can create long-term problems for affected faculty members.”

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