Faculty Recruitment and Retention
Task Force Report - May 31, 2001

Findings
2.1 Salaries and Benefits Data

Finding #1: CU-Boulder faculty salaries lag those of an AAU public peer group by an average of about 6 percent.

Table 1 shows that CU-Boulder average faculty salaries lag those of a peer group of public universities from the American Association of Universities (AAU), with an overall difference of -6.0 percent in 2000-01. The problem is most acute for full professors, where the current difference is -6.9 percent. Moreover, the salary differential has increased in magnitude by approximately 1 percent in each of the past two years, despite the commitment by CU-Boulder to provide average raises of at least inflation plus 1 percent.

Rank/Year 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
Full Professors -4.6 % -4.7 % -4.6 % -5.5 % -6.9 %
Assoc. Professors +0.9 % -1.8 % -2.4 % -3.9 % -3.1 %
Assist. Professors -1.0 % -3.4 % -2.7 % -6.3 % -5.2 %
All Ranks -2.1 % -3.8 % -3.7 % -5.2 % -6.0 %
Table 1 - Weighted average faculty salary differentials between CU-Boulder and AAU public peer group over the past five years (source: Office of Planning, Budget and Analysis).

Finding #2: Average raises of inflation plus 1 percent are insufficient to keep pace with competition.

An additional illustration that average raises of inflation plus 1 percent are insufficient to keep up with the AAU public peer group is shown in Figure 1. Here, the AAU average salaries for 1999-2000 are plotted versus the years of service, assuming that the average length of service is 3, 10, and 23 years for assistant professors, associate professors, and full professors, respectively. The 1999-2000 AAU average salaries of $61,696 and $88,965 for associate professors and full professors, respectively, are 21.5 percent and 75.3 percent higher than the 1999-2000 AAU average salary of $50,761 for assistant professors. To achieve these increases (in constant dollars) of 21 percent in seven years and 75 percent in 20 years, average raises of inflation plus 2.8 percent are required. Otherwise, if the overall raise pool is at or only slightly above inflation, and faculty with extraordinary merit get raises well above inflation, then faculty with ordinary merit will get raises below inflation.

Figure 1 - Average 1999-2000 salary versus rank for the AAU public peer group, and the average salaries in constant dollars for different post-inflation average raises after seven years for associate professors and after 20 years for full professors, starting with the AAU average salary for assistant professors (source of data: Office of Budget, Planning and Analysis).

Finding #3: CU Boulder faculty benefits lag those of the peer group by approximately 1 percent of the salary pool.

Table 2 shows that CU-Boulder average faculty compensation (salaries plus benefits) lag even further behind those of the AAU public peer groups, with an overall difference of -6.8 percent in 2000-01. These data indicate that the benefits of CU-Boulder faculty lag those of the AAU public peer group by 0.8 percent, despite the 1 percent increase in retirement contributions by the campus over the past four years. The chart in Figure 2 shows that the 1999 health benefit employee contribution by CU was the second lowest among nine public universities studied, for both single-employee coverage and family coverage. For the latter, the monthly amount provided by CU ($255) is 25 percent below the average ($339) for the group, with the nine-month difference of $756 representing 1.1 percent of the CU-Boulder 1999-2000 average salary.

Rank/Year 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
Full Professors -4.1 % -5.0 % -5.3 % -6.1 % -7.7 %
Assoc. Professors -0.1 % -2.7 % -3.9 % -4.9 % -4.8 %
Assist. Professors -2.7 % -4.9 % -4.7 % -6.1 % -6.5 %
All Ranks -2.8 % -4.4 % -4.8 % -5.8 % -6.8 %
Table 2 - Weighted average faculty compensation (salary plus benefits) differential between CU-Boulder and AAU public peer group over the past five years (source: Office of Planning, Budget and Analysis).
Figure 2 - Health benefit employer contributions for 1999 (source: CU University Benefits Advisory Board, Winter 2000 Newsletter).

Finding #4 - The differentials in both current and starting salaries between CU Boulder and our main competitors are even greater than implied by comparison with the AAU public peer group.

Additional data on faculty salaries, including breakdowns by individual schools, colleges, and departments, may be found at http://www.colorado.edu/pbal/facstaff/facsal/index.htm and in Appendix A (note that the data in Appendix A differ slightly from those in Table 1 of this report, because of differences in the peer group and how salaries are weighted, as explained in the web site). The analysis in Appendix A shows that starting salaries, as well as current salaries, at CU-Boulder are low compared to the AAU public peer group, especially at the rank of full professor. Moreover, Appendix B shows that a "marketplace" study in 1998 found that the universities which CU-Boulder competes against for faculty hiring and retention can be characterized as AAU private institutions and the upper two-thirds of the AAU public institutions; the salary differentials between CU-Boulder and these competitors are even greater than the salary differentials between CU-Boulder and the AAU public peer group reported by the Office of Budget, Planning and Analysis and used in this report.

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