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New Report Shows Recent Trends in Faculty Employment and Salaries

November 29, 2011

In fall 2010, colleges and universities employed approximately 3.9 million persons. Roughly 1.3 million of these employees were faculty members, lecturers, or other instructional staff at public and private colleges and universities (not including medical schools). A new National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) report, Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2010, and Salaries of Full-Time Instructional Staff, 2010-11, provides information on employment trends and salary levels of the campus teaching staff by institutional type and other factors.

Growth in Part-time Teaching Staff

Total campus teaching staff grew from about 1.1 million in fall 2004 to just over 1.3 million six years later. But increases in part-time instructional staff accounted for the majority of this growth. The number of full-time instructors at all faculty ranks increased 11 percent, while part-time teachers increased 29 percent. During the study period, the percentage of total teaching staff employed part-time increased from 51 percent to 55 percent.

The use of part-time teaching staff was particularly prevalent at public two-year colleges. Of the roughly 377,000 total instructors at community colleges in 2010, about 70 percent were employed part-time. This compares with just 37 percent at four-year public colleges and universities and 51 percent at four-year private non-profit institutions. However, part-time teaching staff at four-year public institutions had the highest rate of increase (33 percent) among the not-for-profit higher education sectors. This compares with an 11 percent increase at community colleges and 27 percent at four-year independent colleges and universities.

Salaries Decline

While the overall number of teaching faculty has increased, the average salary at many faculty ranks fell in inflation-adjusted dollars over the past six years. The average salary for male professors at community colleges employed full-time (based on a nine-month contract) declined 2.5 percent from 2004-05 to 2010-11, and the average for their female counterparts fell 1.4 percent. The average pay for male lecturers at community colleges dropped nearly 9 percent over the past six academic years; conversely, salaries among similarly-ranked women increased 7 percent.

These trends contrast with salaries at four-year public institutions. The average pay for male professors increased nearly 4 percent, while women saw a 2.6 percent increase on average. The average salary of male lecturers at four-year public colleges and universities jumped 10 percent, versus a 7 percent gain in the average pay for women.  

The report is available from the NCES Web site.


Ken Redd
Director, Research and Policy Analysis