Monday, August 17, 2009

Who are the High Earners in the UC System

Like many people, I was wondering about who exactly are the people making more than $200,000 a year in the UC system. Using Jeffrey Bergamini’s great salary data (http://ucpay.globl.org), I analyzed the different categories of employees in the over 200K club. I also looked at how these groups increased over the two-year period from 2006 to 2008. Here is what I found (with Jeffrey’s help):

First of all, I broke the employees making over $200,000 into six basic groups: administrators, medical faculty, athletic coaches, business school professors, academic professors (excluding business and law professors), and law professors. These six categories accounted for over 95% of the revenue of the over $200,000 club, which had a total gross pay of over 1 billion dollars in 2008. The top group was the medical faculty, which had 2,296 people making a total of $680 million in 2008. This same group in 2006 had 1,748 employees with total earnings over $502 million. In other words, over a period of two years, the UC added 550 new people from the medical field into the over $200,000 club for an additional cost of $178 million (which is about the total savings for the entire furlough plan).

The second biggest group was the administrators. In 2008, there were 397 administrators in the over 200k club making a total of $109 million, and in 2006, the same group had 214 members for a collective gross pay of $58.8 million. This group and its collective salaries, then, almost doubled in just two years. If you want to know where the UC money has been going, this is a great place to start.

The third biggest group is the academic professors outside of law, medicine, and business. In 2008, there were 415 academic professors making over $2000,000 for a collective gross pay of $96.6 million. In 2006, this same group had 215 employees at $49 million. In other words, the number of academic professor’s outside of the professional schools making over $200,000 basically doubled in a two-year period. During this time, the faculty salaries in the UC system continued to fall beneath the national average, and so what we are seeing in the UC system is an incredible widening of faculty salary inequality: the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer.

In the case of the business school faculty, in 2008, there were 372 faculty making more than $200,000 for a collective gross pay of $93 million, while in 2006, there were 193 in this group with a collective gross pay of $46 million. Once again the pay of this group doubled in two years: they do not call themselves business faculty for nothing.

In the case of law professors, we find that in 2008, there were 85 making over $200,000 for a collective pay of $21 million, and in 2006, this same group consisted of 57 employees making a collective $13 million. For some reason, this group did not double its earnings, but it still showed a healthy increase.

The final group is the athletic coaches, which in 2008, there were 24 coaches making over $2000,000 for a collective payout of $12.8 million. In 2006, this same group had only 11 members with collective earning over $5 million. So athletic coaches in this category more than doubled their earnings in two years.

What all of these statistics tell us that that UC does not have a budget problem; it has an out-of-control compensation problem. Moreover, it is the people at the top, just 1.5% of the employees (out of a total of 240,000 workers) who make 11% of the total compensation, and this group increased its wealth by close to 40% in just two years. Did you get a 40% raise in the last two years?
Bob Samuels, UC-AFT

9 comments:

  1. For several decades now, universities have financed these high salaries and the perks that go with them in part by hiring underpaid adjuncts to do most of the undergraduate teaching. That state of affairs is bad enough--but these numbers are, as you say, "out of control"! They raise the question--who is UC serving? The state of California? Or the elite who are earning these enormous salaries?

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  2. This information is good, but the analysis isn't as useful as it could be if it controlled for the salaries of the professors before they entered the group. If 500 professors went from being paid $199,000 in 2006 to $201,000 in 2008 their salary growth would be sub-inflationary, but would show up in this analysis as $100M in extra expense instead of $1M of actual increase in expense.

    Is there any way to control for this? I'd like to use this for my work on UC commitees.

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  3. This isn't as useful as it could be unless it considers the source of the salary- it is most likely that many of those very highly paid academics in the medical school or the sciences have high salaries because of the large amount of grant support they bring in- that means not only is that portion of their salary not being paid by the university, it actually brings more funding to the university when they obtain it.

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  4. ... and the medical faculty also treat patients and earn money for the UC that way (don't they?). If a $200k employee brings in >$200k in revenue, then the employee was a wise investment (assuming the revenue stream doesn't dry up ....)

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