September 18, 2019 | 64° F

Rutgers has gender wage gap of 6 to 8%, professor says


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Photo by Garrett Steffe |

Deepa Kumar, president of AAUP-AFT and an associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, holds up a sign that fights to close the pay gap between male and female professors.


Rutgers American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers' (AAUP-AFT) announced on Facebook last night at approximately 10 p.m. that they were making progress and would stay at the bargaining table 'round the clock' until a deal is reached to avert a strike. 

One of the issues the union raised concern about is the gender wage gap among all Rutgers tenured or tenure-track faculty, which is approximately 6 to 8%, said Mark Killingsworth, a professor in the Department of Economics, who did a study using regression analysis to find the statistic. 

“It takes into account race, age, years at Rutgers and divisions within the University,” Kllingsworth said. 

Within individual departments and schools, the difference may be non-existent, less or greater, Killingsworth said. Yet when salaries of males and females among every faculty rank are compared, the gap is approximately $7,000 to $11,000 per year. 

The percentage differences are more useful because the dollar differences keep changing over time. A dollar in 2005 is not worth the same as a dollar in 2019, he said. 

“If you look at people within the same rank, who are also the same within the other factors,” Killingsworth said. “The differences are smaller, which is not surprising and what that says is there may well be differences adverse to women in access to rank.” 

While Killingsworth’s analysis does not consider why this exists, the difference in access to higher positions may be due to discrimination, he said. But it could also be because females have less experience due to factors such as having children or having less leverage depending on the number of schools that want to hire them. 

Killingsworth said the wage discrepancies most likely begin with a faculty member’s starting salary, which was not a factor in the study, he said. When a person is hired, they negotiate their salaries with their department chair, which then goes to the dean of the school and to higher-up administrators. 

Male-female pay equity has become an issue during the AAUP-AFT strike plans, Killingsworth said. The union is asking for equal pay for equal work. 

“The University agrees with the union that all faculty should be compensated fairly, and our negotiating team is working with the union’s team to develop a process to evaluate salary equity,” said Dory Devlin, senior director of University News and Media Relations. 

The administration is also working with the union’s team on issues of teaching assistant, graduate assistant and part-time lecturer compensation, Devlin said. 

“We have made good progress on many other issues and we expect that the teams will reach agreement on the remaining issues in the very near future,” she said. “The University community recognizes that our unionized employees are vital to our mission of teaching, research and service. We remain optimistic that we will soon be able to reach successful contracts with all of our remaining unions that will be mutually acceptable and beneficial for all parties.”


Brendan Brightman

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