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Little movement on pay equity in higher ed

A new report from College and University Professional Association for Human Resources released Thursday finds a lack of “meaningful progress” when it comes to pay equity for women and people of color in higher education, who continue to lag behind their white and male peers.

The report is based on data collected from CUPA-HR surveys from 2017 to 2023.

CUPA-HR found that while racial and ethnic minorities have made progress breaking into the administrative ranks, they remain underrepresented. And while women hold a majority of administrative positions, women of color fill fewer than 11 percent of those roles. CUPA-HR noted persistent pay disparities for women in administrative roles compared to their male counterparts.

Among faculty, more women are in non-tenure-track than tenure-track positions, and women are “over-represented in the lowest-paying and lowest-ranking positions,” with fewer people of color at higher faculty levels, the report said. Pay gaps persist for female faculty members, most notably for women of color who are in non-tenure-track positions.

Women represent 61 percent of all professional positions, a number that has been ticking up slightly in recent years, even as pay for women lags behind men. Hispanic and Latino men, Native Hawaiian men, and biracial men are paid less than their white peers, CUPA-HR found.

The most diverse group is staff, where people of color have the highest representation. Women of color make up around 19 percent of staff, while men of color compose roughly 13 percent. Female staff members, regardless of race, are paid less than white male staffers; pay equity budged little between 2017 and 2023, according to the CUPA-HR study. Men of color also tend to “fare considerably better” on pay than female staff of color.

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