Small gains in closing the gender pay gap in higher ed

In last 15 years, women college administrators earn approximately 80% less than men

While the gender-related pay gap in higher education has gotten only marginally smaller in the last few years, women’s salaries still lag behind those for men. And while there are almost as many women (49 percent) as men working in higher ed, there are fewer women in top executive positions.

Those findings are part of “The Gender Pay Gap and the Representation of Women in Higher Education Administrative Positions: The Century So Far,” a new research brief by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR).

The study examines women’s pay rates in higher education over the last 15 years as well as their representation in top posts.

In the U.S., the average woman’s unadjusted annual salary is between 78 percent and 82 percent of the average man’s salary. In higher ed, however, women administrators earned approximately 80 percent of what their male counterparts earned (up from 77 percent in 2001).

Nearly half (49 percent) of higher ed administrators overall are women, and there have been small hiring gains in various department-level posts since 2001. When it comes to senior posts, women’s representation drops to less than 30 percent, according to CUPA-HR. Men outnumber women in top posts by a ratio of 2-to-1.

In C-level positions, men still outnumber women as business officers (2-to-1) as well as information officers (4-to-1) and facilities officers (9-to-1).

Where do women hold a majority of the positions? In human resources, where they outnumber their male counterparts by 3-to-1.

Interestingly, in many cases where women’s representation is lower, their pay rates are actually more competitive. In facilities, for example, women earn 17 percent more than their male counterparts. Full survey results are available at

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