US university hikes salaries to resolve ‘pay inequities’

More than three-quarters of staff who will receive pay rises are female or ethnic minorities

August 16, 2016
Gender pay gap
Source: iStock

The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) has announced that it will increase salaries for 51 staff, in order to correct pay inequities "that unjustly held down the wages of dozens of faculty members".

The decision will boost the annual salaries of 51 staff by $155,064 (£120,000) in total, or $3,040 on average per person.

Of the 51 salary adjustments, 36 are for women. Among the 15 men who will receive a pay rise, four are racial or ethnic minorities. This means that 78 per cent of the adjustments correct inequities in the salaries of women or ethnic minority staff.

An additional $13,428 was recommended for distribution across the annual salaries of four faculty department heads.

The agreement was made following a two-year discussion between the institution’s faculty union and administration.

In a joint statement to staff, Joe Gorton, president of United Faculty, the negotiating agent for the university’s staff, and Jim Wohlpart, interim president of the university, said the decision was reached after a salary equity committee “conducted a regression analysis to identify faculty who may not be [being] paid equitably based upon such factors as years of service, rank, years at rank, discipline, gender, and service as department head”.

“Based on this analysis, the committee identified a number of faculty salaries that should be further analyzed by looking at two factors not included in the regression analysis: prior experience and job performance,” they said.

Professor Gorton cited three reasons for the importance of the agreement.

“First, it corrects a substantial inequity that unjustly held down the wages of dozens of faculty members. Second, it exemplifies the positive UNI labour-management collaboration that has again yielded concrete results for faculty and our families. Third, it prevents the parties from pursuing a legalistic remedy that would have been extremely time consuming, expensive and conflictual. Outside of contract negotiations, this is the most important labour-management agreement in the history of UNI.”  

In June, Times Higher Education reported that the University of Essex was raising the salaries of female professors in order to lift their average pay to the same level as male chairs.

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