Philosopher Benj Hellie (Toronto) writes:
I crunched the numbers in the AAUP report, looking at the total "real" change in salary over the period reported -- namely, 1971 to the present.
I calculate both the figures for "all faculty" and "continuing faculty", in each case broken out by rank and in the aggregate.
The figures for "all faculty" answer the following (interesting) question. Suppose that in 2014 Ellen is of Rank R in the Department of Z at a school of type Y; suppose that in 1972 Larry was of Rank R (at an equivalent career-point) in the Department of Z at a school of type Y. How much more (or less!) does Ellen make in real terms than Larry?
Professor: +6% Associate: –1% Assistant: +3% Instructor: –8% All Ranks: –2%
Although the declining welfare of Instructors drags down the All Ranks figure, eyeballing the other three Rank classes suggests that in general the "professoriate" is doing slightly better now than in 1972. (Though the combination of decline at Associate with boost at Professor suggests that this may well involve significant redistribution toward "star" faculty lured away by outside offers.)
The figures for "continuing faculty" answer the following (somewhat absurd) question. Suppose that Larry stayed on at Rank R from 1972 to 2014. How much more does he make now in real terms than then?
Professor: +39% Associate: +75% Assistant: +102% Instructor: +104% All Ranks: +65%
The question is of little interest in itself. But the results do lend credibility to the parenthetical speculation above: Professor seems to be in general a salary plateau for those who don't move around, in contrast with non-moving Associates with salaries more rapidly advancing toward that eventual plateau. If Professors are despite this doing better than Associates, that suggests significant redistribution toward the top end for Professors who move.
Other comments welcome from those who have taken the time to analyze the data.