Pay gap widens for US faculty

April 21, 2000

American university faculty enjoyed salary raises above inflation this year for the sixth time in the past seven years, but their pay continues to fall behind that of other highly educated professionals, according to a survey.

There are also growing inequities between salaries of men and women and between faculty at public and private institutions, says the report by the American Association of University Professors.

But the biggest disparity is between expected earnings of university faculty compared with professionals in other fields, especially in an era of free-spending online entrepreneurship. The gap has widened from about 14 per cent to about 24 per cent.

"While I think it would be foolhardy for professors to expect the same financial rewards as someone who launches a successful internet start-up company, the fact is that the difference between what we earn and what other professionals with equal or less education earn is large and getting larger," said Linda A. Bell, a professor of economics at Haverford College, Philadelphia, who chaired the survey committee.

"Many of our best students will invariably turn away from the academic profession because they are unwilling to make the kind of financial sacrifice it requires," Professor Bell said.

The survey reveals that average faculty salaries rose 3.7 per cent this year. The inflation rate in the United States in the same period was 2.7 per cent. The average salary of a full-time faculty member rose to $58,352 (Pounds 36,798). Full professors made an average of $76,197. At private doctoral institutions, the average pay for full professors was $103,761. The survey did not include medical school faculty, who make far more.

An earlier report by the College and University Personnel Association says administrators at US universities received median pay rises this year of 5 per cent.

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