Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Growing Salary Inequality for the UC Senate faculty

This post looks at the growing spread in the UC system between the high earners and everyone else within the senate faculty ranks. Using Jeffrey Bergamini’s new salary data (, I first looked at general salary trends within the UC system and found that the number of people making over $200,000 in the UC system increased by 470 between 2004 and 2006; however, during the next two years, the same group increased by 1,183. Moreover, the increase in total compensation to the top earners was $163 million between 2004 and 2006, but the increase between 2006 and 2008 was $320 million. This means that the amount of additional money going to the top earners almost doubled in just two years. In fact, the total pay for the UC system went from $7.1 billion in 2004 to $7.9 billion in 2006 to $9.5 billion in 2008.
During this time of growing salary inequality, we find a profound movement of money to the top, while lower paid workers saw their pay stagnate. Within the professorial ranks, increased inequality can be documented between fields and within particular areas. For instance, as I have previously shown (, medical, business, and law professors had abnormally large compensation increases between 2006 and 2008. In fact, if we compare the raises between 2004 and 2006 to the raises between 2006 and 2008, we find that salaries took off after 2006. Thus, the total compensation for full professors in the business schools went from $116 million in 2004 to $128 million in 2006, and then in 2008, the same group jumped to $176 million. In other words, the rate of increase went from 10% to about 40%.

If we now look at the professors outside of the professional schools, we find some interesting salary trends, which all point to the movement of wealth to people at the top. For example, in 2004, there was 216 full professors making more than $200,000,and in 2006, the number of high earners grew to 194, but in 2008, this same category jumped to 380. Therefore, the number of full professors making over $200,000 nearly doubled between 2006 and 2008. Meanwhile, if we look at the salaries of assistant professors during this same period, we find that the number of assistants making less than $70,00 stayed almost the same between 2004 and 2008 (577 in 2004; 553 in 2006; 558 in 2008). This statistic tells us that the salary growth for academic professors was concentrated at the top.

In fact, if we look at the number of full professors making over $250,000, we see that in 2004, there were17 people in this group, while in 2006, 35 made over $250,000, but in 2008, there were 69. The top earners between 2006 and 2008 nearly tripled, and over half of them were at UCLA. It is no wonder that in 2008, the UCLA College declared an internal budget deficit unrelated to state funding.

If we look at the salaries of associate professors, we discover that there was relatively the same number of them making below $100,000 from 2004 to 2008 (949 in 2004; 960 in 2006; 936 in 2008). Once again, this points to relatively flat salaries for everyone else except full professors at the top. It is also important to note that the numbers of faculty in each of the ranks stayed almost the same between 2004 and 2008. For instance, there was 3,112 full professors in 2004, and in 2008, there was 3,208. This statistic tells us that the increase of compensation was not caused by an increase in the number of full professors; rather, we find that the average salary in this rank went up $18,000 during this period, and the biggest increases went to the people at the very top. In comparison, the average assistant professor’s salary increased by $5,000 from 2004 and 2008, and the average associate professors salary increased by $11,000.

Perhaps the most telling statistic is the number of people in each academic professorial rank. In 2008, there was 3,208 full professors, 1,250 associate professors, and 1,140 assistant professors. In other words, more than half of the academic professors are full professors, and with the current move to freeze new hires, we should see an even greater divide between the highest paid professors and everyone else. This means that it will become more expensive to teach classes and the cost of graduate education will escalate.


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