U of T to implement salary increase for more than 800 women faculty members

April 29, 2019 by U of T News

The University of Toronto will implement a 1.3 per cent salary increase for all women faculty members who are tenured or in the tenure stream following an advisory group’s findings on gender-based pay equity. More than 800 women will receive an increase to their base salaries.

The planned increase, to be implemented on July 1, 2019, will be applied to base salaries as of June 30. The move is designed to address a gender-based pay gap identified by the Provostial Advisory Group on Faculty Gender Pay Equity through an analysis conducted by faculty with expertise from the departments of economics and statistical sciences, as well as the Rotman School of Management.

The university’s decision arises in part from a pre-grievance mediation between the university administration and the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA), during which the administration and the association shared the results of detailed studies of the relationship between gender and salary at the university. While the mediation process did not result in agreement on the extent and underlying causes of gender-based salary gaps at U of T, both parties agreed there was a gap in the tenure stream of at least 1.3 per cent.

The Provostial Advisory Group’s analysis determined there was no statistically significant difference between the salaries of men and women who are faculty members with continuing appointments in U of T’s teaching stream, and did not address librarians, contractually limited term appointments (CLTAs), part-time faculty or pay differentials attributable to other social identities. UTFA’s analysis did identify gender-based differences for teaching stream faculty, librarians, CLTAs and part-time faculty. However, the parties have not come to any agreement on these issues.

UTFA and the university administration have agreed to examine these and related issues in facilitated working groups and in ongoing mediation.

“We’re taking immediate action to close the pay gap between men and women professors who are tenured or in the tenure stream based on the comprehensive, in-depth analysis of the issue undertaken by the advisory group,” said U of T President Meric Gertler.

“Ensuring fair and equitable compensation is critical to attracting the best and brightest talent from around the world. It’s also the right thing to do.”

UTFA noted that the gender pay gap has been a long-standing concern. “A number of efforts have been made over the years to address gender discrimination at the university, but these have not gotten to the root of the problem,” said Professor Terezia Zoric, who has taken the lead on behalf of UTFA. “UTFA struck an advisory committee in 2016 to bring more attention to this issue. We are glad to see some movement, but more work will need to be done – including for our members who experience discrimination on other grounds.”

While it’s not the first time U of T has studied faculty salaries based on gender – and made adjustments when anomalies were found – this latest review is the most comprehensive to date. The detailed statistical analysis was conducted by a five-person team that included three faculty members with expertise in performing such analyses, as well as a staff member and a graduate student.

The advisory group’s report found that, on average, women faculty members who are tenured or in the tenure stream earn 1.3 per cent less than “comparably situated” faculty members who are men, once experience, field of study and other relevant factors are taken into account. The latter includes experience prior to hire, administrative positions, and whether the individual has ever held a Canada Research Chair and/or University Professorship.

Similar studies have been undertaken by other universities in Canada and abroad – all of which found unexplained gaps in pay between men and women faculty members.

While other universities have addressed gender pay gaps by making across-the-board base salary increases of a couple of thousand dollars, Cheryl Regehr, U of T’s vice-president and provost, said U of T opted to focus on percentage difference to better reflect the differences in pay attributable to gender.

“We conducted rigorous research to ensure our action to address the gender-based gap in pay among tenured and tenure stream faculty members is fair and based on the specific U of T context,” Regehr said.

The advisory group’s work is part of a broad and long-standing strategy at U of T to support gender equity, diversity and inclusion. Other initiatives at U of T include: increasing the number of women hired into the tenure stream; supporting equity in starting salaries; providing unconscious bias training for committees on faculty appointments and tenure; and appointing an adviser to the provost on women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields.

Regehr said U of T is committed to conducting a similar analysis for librarians in continuing appointments and has recommended that the university undertake a periodic review of all continuing faculty salaries to ensure that a gender-based pay gap does not reappear over time.

See the joint statement issued by the university and UTFA