Canadian university professors are getting older and working longer. (Pixabay)

Canadian university profs are getting older and working longer

New statistics also show more women in Canadian university faculties

Academic teaching staff at Canadian universities are getting older and working longer, according to new figures from Statistics Canada, which also show that faculties are employing more women.

The number of full-time academic teaching staff at public Canadian universities rose by 0.8 per cent to 46,025 in 2017-18.

About 37 per cent of faculty qualified as full professors in 2017 — down from 41.8 in 1996. Associate and assistant professors account for 35.8 and 19.2 per cent. Faculty below the level of assistant professor account for 8.3 per cent of staff.

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According to Statistics Canada, women compromise an increasing proportion of full-time university teaching staff for all ranks. If current hiring and attrition rates continue, it is estimated that the total number of men and women across all full-time university teaching staff will be close to parity in roughly 35 years.

The median salary of full-time university teaching staff was $131,780 in 2017-18, up 2.2% from $128,950 in 2016/2017, according to Statistics Canada. This gain partially reflected negotiated salary increases. Salaries, however, differed by rank. The median salary was $160,650 for full professors; $127,840 for associate professors; $101,600 for assistant professors; and $96,960 for those below assistant professor.

Female faculty, notably, almost earn as much as their male colleagues based on their respective median salary. But this near-parity disappears when it comes to full professors, where women still represented a smaller proportion.

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Overall, wages and salaries of academic staff in 2016-2017 accounted for 34 per cent of the total operating expenditures of Canadian universities, a share that has changed little year to year since 2000-2001.

Because of their longer education and higher level of specialization, university professors enter their occupation at a later age than people in many other professions. The median age of full-time academic staff was 51 years — almost a decade higher than the median age of Canada’s full-time working population.

Since they enter the work force later, full-time staff also work longer. In 2017-2018, almost 10 per cent of all staff was 65 years or older — up from two per cent in 2005-2006. Some of this increase reflects among factors the end of provincial mandatory retirement legislation in the mid 2000s.


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