UC Berkeley ranks 2nd for highest faculty pay among public universities

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UC Berkeley has the second-highest faculty salaries out of all public universities, according to a survey from the American Association of University Professors, or AAUP, as first reported by Inside Higher Ed.

Among public universities in 2018-19, UC Berkeley professors were paid on average $201,700, just behind UCLA professors at $214,000. Berkeley’s high ranking is not new — it was ranked second in 2015-16, again below UCLA. Five UC campuses are among the top 10 highest paying public universities.

“Chancellor Christ has set forth a number of key priorities for the campus. These include critical issues around the student experience and campus diversity,” Benjamin Hermalin, Vice Provost for the Faculty, said in an email. “They also include maintaining the excellence of the faculty. No other institution provides so many students access to the cutting edge in their fields of study. … To have an excellent faculty requires us to be competitive with peer institutions.”

The AAUP’s survey also found a considerable gender gap in overall salaries for faculty across colleges. Women on average were paid 81.6 percent of men’s salaries. According to an AAUP statement, this discrepancy is mainly attributed to differences in employment.

There are also trends of payment differential among campus professors between departments. Professors in business, law and science, technology, engineering and math fields tend to receive higher salaries than their counterparts in the humanities, according to Hermalin.

“By and large, Berkeley is a responder to market forces, not a market driver of them,” Hermalin said in an email. “Some difference is due to seniority: more senior faculty receive higher salaries than younger faculty generally. … The different fields of study have distinct markets, so faculty in fields that enjoy high market salaries … will, on average, earn more than faculty in fields in which market salaries are less.”

Hermalin suggested that closing the gap in salaries at Berkeley “is not feasible” due to faculty seniority, but he did cite past efforts to improve wage equity through the Targeted Decoupling Initiative. These initiatives in 2011 dedicated $1.5 million to increasing faculty salaries for up to 200 professors. In 2015, the renewal of the Targeted Decoupling Initiative was also endorsed by a study which found racial and gender differentials in pay across faculty.

The AAUP’s survey also found very little increase in salaries for faculty across the board only a 2 percent increase overall, which just passed the level of inflation.

“With prices in the economy as a whole growing by 1.9 percent during the year, faculty salaries barely budged when adjusted for inflation,” according to an AAUP statement. “This is the third successive year that increases in average full-time faculty salaries have barely outpaced inflation.”

Contact Ben Klein at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @BenKlein_dc‏.