Recent Trends in Faculty Demographics and Employment Patterns

Jennifer Ma, TIAA-CREF Institute

November 2004 |

This report examines some recent trends in faculty demographics and employment patterns at U.S. degree-granting institutions, drawing data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Highlights of this report include:

  • In Fall 2001, nearly 3.1 million individuals were employed at U.S. degree-granting institutions. Of them, roughly 1.1 million were faculty members.
  • During the 14-year period between 1987 and 1991, the total number of faculty at U.S. degree-granting institutions rose by 40.4 percent and the total number of staff rose by 27.5 percent. These growth rates are higher than that of the overall U.S. employment.
  • The proportion of full-time faculty dropped from 66.0 percent in 1987 to 55.5 percent in 2001. During the same period, the proportion of full-time staff dropped from 75.5 percent to 72.3 percent.
  • The proportion of full-time faculty who were tenured dropped from 58.4 percent in 1987 to 54.2 percent in 1992, further down to 53.1 percent in 1998; the proportion of full-time faculty who were not on tenure track rose from 7.9 percent in 1987 to 11.2 percent in 1992, and rose further to 18.1 percent in 1998.
  • The average age of full-time instructional faculty went up from 47 in 1987 to 48 in 1992 and to 49.2 in 1998. During this period, the proportion of faculty under 45 dropped from 41.8 percent to 32.6 percent while the proportion of faculty 55 or older went up from 24.1 percent to 31.4 percent.
  • The proportion of women full-time instructional faculty went up from 31.8 percent in 1991 to 38.4 percent in 2001. The increase has been concentrated in the ranks of professor, associate professor, and assistant professor.
  • Across all degree-granting institutions, the proportion of full-time minority instructional faculty increased slightly from 12.3 percent in 1991 to 14.9 percent in 2001.
  • In 2001, 3.4 percent of the full-time instructional faculty was non-resident aliens, compared with 2.0 percent in 1991.

© 2014 and prior years, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association - College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF), New York, NY 10017