Monday, June 26, 2023

C&EN: Between 2021 and 2022, faculty salaries dropped 2.4% against inflation

In this week's Chemical and Engineering News, this news (article by Krystal Vasquez): 
Average salaries for full-time faculty at colleges and universities in the US increased by 4.1% between fall 2021 and fall 2022, according to a new report by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). But the pay bump was no match for inflation.

When the change in the Consumer Price Index is factored in, full-time faculty actually experienced a 2.4% drop in salary, marking the third consecutive year that academic wages have fallen.

Between 2019 and 2022, faculty salaries saw a cumulative decrease of 7.5%. Inflation-adjusted wages are also 4.2% less than they were in 2008, at the height of the Great Recession.

To explain the declines in salary, the AAUP report points to the COVID-19 pandemic, which contributed to rising inflation and heavily impacted student enrollment. The report also cites the inadequate levels of funding that states provide to institutions.
I can't say that I'm surprised, but this has got to be grim news for smaller college and university professors. 


  1. Did the number of tenured faculty positions change? Swapping tenured/tenure-track positions for other versions (adjunct, etc) would lower average wages. I know someone (alas) whose tenure-track position was terminated - I assume it's being replaced by adjunct or something else (the students still need to be taught).

    1. That's my thinking. I realize it's a single data point, but someone I know who recently retired from a long career at our local community college told me her position will not be filled because they hire nothing but adjuncts now.

    2. I wonder at what point students will get cranky - you're using rather low-wage people to teach me but amazingly enough tuition (or administration pay or scale) aren't diminishing in any way...

    3. I would not expect students to get cranky, as the teaching from adjuncts is the same or of better quality of regular faculty. The only thing that can be done is to unionize adjuncts but even that cannot be done in a right-to-work state (state's where unions do not have to be recognized). Or, limit the number MS and PhD graduates in chemistry so that a shortage of teachers develops; that ain't gonna happen, though.

    4. I would have figured that a shortage of people willing to go into academia would happen anyway - at some point if you are likely to have neither freedom to explore topics nor money, people would stop trying to work towards those jobs.
      The slight of adjuncts wasn't fair (other than maybe they would be more overworked?) but at least part of the sales pitch for unis is the research faculty which was probably bogus anyway but is really bogus if they don't actually exist.
      As long as employers get what they expect out of unis (predictable trained workers), I don't know that anything will change.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20