Report: Men still hold bulk of top-paying higher ed jobs

  • A solitary person walks across the common of the Northeast Residential Area at the University of Massachusetts on Monday morning, Feb. 8, 2021. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

State House News Service
Published: 2/24/2021 12:42:15 PM

Eight of the country’s leading institutions of higher education have no women among their top earners on campus, including the University of Massachusetts Amherst, according to a new study published by the Eos Foundation.

The report, which focused on the pay gaps that exist by gender at colleges and universities around the country, found that fewer than one quarter, or 24%, of the most highly compensated employees at top research universities are women.

The problem was even more evident among women of color, who make up just 2.5% of the top 10 earners on each campus.

“Money equates to power,” said Andrea Silbert, president of Eos and lead author of the report. “This is not a pay gap study, this is about who is making the big money at the top, and ultimately, who has the power. It’s highly disturbing that so few women, and almost no women of color, are represented among the highest earners, which of course is where the power lies.”

The study focused on the nation’s top 130 public and private research universities, which the foundation said educate 21% of all college and graduate students in the country and employ 1.2 million staff.

The report found that 11 of 130 higher education institutions have reached gender parity, with the University of Las Vegas Nevada leading the way. No schools in Massachusetts made the list.

Eight schools were found to have no women among their top 10 earners, including the University of Massachusetts’s flagship campus in Amherst.

The greatest gender gap was found among faculty, with 93% of top earners found in what the report described as male-dominated STEM, economics and business fields. Women accounted for just 10% of top earning faculty, despite earning 54% of the doctorate degrees and 60% of all master’s degrees.

The study’s authors recommended that universities commit themselves to pay equity and greater transparency around salaries, and suggested that states collect and share data on university pay and pass laws banning the use of prior salary history in the hiring process. The report said 15 states and Puerto Rico have laws prohibiting the use of prior salary history.

The Massachusetts Legislature passed a pay equity law that went into effect in 2018 to prohibit employers from asking about applicants’ salary history before making a job offer.

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