GBN's Salary Analysis

Like many people, I try not to think too much about the relationship between my work and the pay I get. But occasionally I get curious, especially when I hear news about the rising cost of living.

I am now in my 11th year as a professional college professor. I started in 1991 as an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My starting salary was $37,000.

This analysis looks at 10 years of salary and inflation data, from 1991 - 2001. (See below for an 11th year update.)

My 2000-2001 salary in the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was $56,425.

News flash: I received notification of my salary for 2002-2003 on November 25, 2002. I received a 2% increase, from $58,179 to $59,343. The inflation calculator at the BLS says inflation from 2001 to 2002 was 2.37%. More analysis is forthcoming.

For 1991-2001 only, let's take a look at my salary advancement over the decade.

  1991 2001
Salary $37,000 $56,425
% Increase   52.5%
Average increase   5.25% per year
Inflation (based on the Consumer Price Index 1991-2000 29%
Based on the BLS inflation calculator, $37,000 in 1991 equals $47,750 in 2001
Cost of living comparison
from, 28% difference
$56,425 Urbana, IL requires $72,224 in Chapel Hill, NC

What do these numbers mean? It depends on how you want to interpret them. Several interpretations:

my numeric dollar salary increase $19,425= $56,425 - $37,000
adjusted for inflation to give constant 2001 dollars $8695= $56,425 - ($37,000 * 1.29)
adjusted for cost of living $6260= $8695 * .72

2001-2002 update

For the 2002 academic year, my salary was increased $625 + 2%, from $56,425 to $58,179. The $625 was the state-mandated increase for faculty. The 2% was the across-the-board increase allocated to each academic unit. In the letter informing me of this increase, my Dean wrote there were no differentiations based on merit, therefore all faculty would receive approximately the same percentage increase in salary.

Consider: For the most highly paid faculty ($122,728 for 2000-2001), 2% is an increase of $2455. For me, the 2% increase is $1129, less than half as much. In my opinion, equity would have been spreading the total 2% increase for the school equally across all faculty members, instead of giving faculty with the highest salaries the largest pay raise.

The BLS Inflation Calculator indicated inflation of 2.48% during the 2001 calendar year (update: later, they adjusted it to 2.85%). I'm happy to report that my total increase in compensation for 2001-2002 is 3.11%, putting me ahead of inflation.



Created March 29, 2001
Most recent update: November 26, 2002