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CAUT Bulletin Archives

February 2010

Not Enough Parity on the Academic Career Ladder

CAUT report highlights employment & earnings of female, First Nations & visible minority professors.
Despite longstanding employment equity policies and practices, women and First Nations continue to be under­-represented in Canadian higher edu­cation, and along with visible minorities are earning less and enduring higher unemployment rates, according to the latest edition of CAUT’s Education Review.

Statistics Canada data shows that in 2006, 33 per cent of university faculty were female, up from 29 per cent five years earlier, and women’s representation at the most senior academic rank topped 20 per cent — up five percentage points from 2001.

Visible minorities’ share of the profession at 17 per cent was only slightly above their representation in Canada’s workforce.

Aboriginal Canadians, in turn, made up a significantly lower proportion. In 2006, 2 per cent of all university teachers reported having Aboriginal ancestry, compared to 4 per cent of core-age
adults (aged 25 to 54) in the experienced labour force.

Earnings were lower for all three groups in the academy. Data from 2005 shows that the average annual income for full-time female faculty members was $79,133 — roughly 82 per cent that of their male counterparts, and the wage gap for visible minorities was much greater where the average salary was $69,390, or about 10 per cent less than that of all faculty.

“The salary gap can’t be explained by differences in job qualifications alone,” said CAUT president, Penni Stewart. “There are systemic reasons, such as discriminatory institutional practices and salary structures, in addition to overt discrimination in hiring and promotion decisions.”

Unemployment was also more pronounced for female, First Nations and visible minority academics. Overall, women experienced a 5 per cent unemployment rate in 2005, compared with 3 per cent of men’s unemployment. Similarly, the unemployment rate among visible minority professors was 6 per cent, compared with 4 per cent for professors who are not members of a visible minority group. At almost 8 per cent, female visible minority professors experienced an even higher rate of unemployment.

“It’s up to institutions and faculty associations to look more critically at the structures and practices that may be perpetuating inequities, such as pay scales with large numbers of increments and segregation by discipline,” Stewart said. “Given the aging academic workforce in Canada, and the renewal associated with that, institutions have an oppor­tunity to prioritize promoting greater equity.”