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.
Inflation-adjusted drop in salaries between 2019 and 2022
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.
In addition to wage decreases, the report found that full-time female faculty earned less than their male colleagues across all academic ranks. The pay gap was largest for full professors, where women’s salaries were 87% of men’s. This discrepancy is higher than what AAUP reported 40 years ago, when women’s salaries were 89% of men’s.
The report is based on data collected from AAUP’s annual Faculty Compensation Survey, which received responses from over 900 US universities and colleges. The employment data represents 370,000 full-time and 90,000 part-time faculty members across a wide range of institutions, but is not broken down by discipline.