Pitt faculty salaries rank higher when cost of living considered


When Pittsburgh’s lower cost of living is factored in, salaries for all Pitt faculty members on the Oakland campus move up in rankings comparing public 33 American Association of Universities institutions, according to new data presented at Senate Council’s Budget Policies Committee last week.

Amanda Brodish, director of Data Analytics & Pathways for Student Success in the provost’s office, used data from the American Association of University Professors 2018-19 salary study and the ACCRA Cost of Living Index to make the comparison for the Pittsburgh campus.

Overall, the Pittsburgh campus salaries ranked 16th. Eight of the top 10 adjusted salaries were at West Coast schools, including Washington at the top and several University of California campuses. The other top salaries were at University of Maryland and Stony Brook University in Long Island, N.Y.

The bottom five adjusted salaries were at Midwest schools — Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Purdue and Illinois.

Lecturers and instructors saw the biggest jump when adjusted for cost of living. Unadjusted their salaries ranked last among public AAU schools. When adjusted, the ranking jumped to 25th.

For the regional campuses, salary data came from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Human Resources Survey, 2017-2018, and compared 99 Regional Campus Benchmark Group institutions. The cost of living index came from Sperling’s BestPlaces.

In all categories, faculty salary rankings moved from near the middle of the list into the top third. The largest jump again was in salaries for lecturers and instructors, which moved from 61st place to 31st.

Shaping the Workplace

The committee also heard from David DeJong, vice chancellor of Human Resources, on his office’s Shaping the Workplace initiative

Many committee members were happy to hear DeJong and his colleagues are tackling inequities in the pay structure for staff members, as well as looking at other workplace issues. (See more in this Dec. 5 University Times article.)

“It’s long overdue,” said Yolanda Covington-Ward, chair of the Department of Africana Studies.

Mackey Friedman, assistant professor in the Graduate School of Public Health, said the current job classification system has created an inability to promote an employee without adding to their job description and creating a new position.

This, DeJong said, is why there are now 7,200 staff employees and 7,000 job descriptions.

Elia Beniash, a professor in the School of Dental Medicine, said his school often has a hard time keeping lab technicians, because it’s easier to hire a new employee at a higher pay rate than to get more money for current employees.

DeJong said even after they redo the classification system to reflect “families” of jobs (such as all accountants grouped together), they’ll be keeping a close eye on areas where there’s a lot of turnover and might have to revisit those salaries.

Engagement sessions are planned on all of Pitt’s campuses in early 2020 about the Shaping the Workplace initiative.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at suejones@pitt.edu or 412-648-4294.


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