The University Record, September 17, 2001

Small salary differential exists at U

By Judy Steeh
News & Information Services

A detailed analysis of faculty salaries at the University finds the average salaries for male faculty are between one and three percent more than for their female counterparts. The report is available online at www.umich.edu/~provost/reports/index.html.

“We are pleased that the overall gender gap in salaries is very small, but the analysis also suggested that there are some discrepancies that must be addressed,” says Pamela Raymond, associate provost and professor of cell and developmental biology, who co-chaired the study along with Paul N. Courant, associate provost, and professor of economics and public policy.

“This initial analysis of salaries was based on information contained in central University databases and could not take into account variations in individual achievement. The next step, which is ongoing, is to use informed evaluations of individual performance and contributions to determine whether individual salary adjustments should be made,” Raymond adds.

The study, which was commissioned by Nancy Cantor, former provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, examined salary data for a total of 1,705 faculty (473 women and 1,232 men) in tenured and tenure-track positions using data from the 1999–2000 academic year. The study was conducted by Mary E. Corcoran, professor of political science, of women’s studies, of social work and of public policy, with assistance from Laura Klem, retired senior research associate at the Institute for Social Research, and Patricia Wolff, senior research associate in the Office of Budget and Planning.

The analysis omitted faculty with primary appointments in the Medical School because of the complexity of their salary structure. A separate analysis is currently being developed for Medical School faculty.

The raw data, looking only at gender, showed an 18 percent difference between men’s and women’s salaries—a predictable result, says Raymond, given that women faculty tend to be at an earlier stage in their careers and to be underrepresented in fields where market forces have driven salaries to higher levels.

The mean salary for women faculty was $72,392 and for men was $88,155. Women faculty, on average, had been at the university for nine years and had earned their highest degree 14 years ago, while male faculty had been at the University an average of 15 years and had earned their highest degree 20 years ago. Only 29 percent of women are full professors, while 59 percent of men are full professors.

The statistical analysis used multiple regression models to predict salaries based on several factors known to affect pay, including variables such as highest degree, years since degree (as a proxy for experience), years at the U-M, departmental/college affiliation, administrative appointments, multiple appointments, market ratios that reflect field-specific salary rates, and rank and years in rank.

The analysis found a gender effect of 1.1 percent, which was not statistically significant, when all controls were used. However, Courant points out, controlling for rank and years in rank may reflect processes that establish barriers to promotion for women faculty. Indeed, a statistically significant effect (3.3 percent) resulted when rank and years in rank were omitted as control variables. The report concludes that the actual residual difference in salaries due to gender probably lies between one and three percent.

Courant notes that evaluations of individual performance are necessary to interpret the results of the statistical analysis. “This analysis provides useful information for looking at overall salaries, but would not alone be an appropriate way to determine individual salaries. Once cases have been reviewed and salary adjustments have been made, we will rerun the statistical model. The individual differences in subjective variables should average out over the entire population, and the systematic residual difference based on gender should disappear,” he says.

Lisa Tedesco, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and also vice president and secretary of the University, praised the study. “The University of Michigan, beginning at the top with our President, is committed to salary equity in both principle and practice,” she says. “We will replicate these analyses on a periodic and continuing basis, to ensure that as an institution we achieve and maintain salary equity among all of our faculty members.”