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Gender-equity analysis results in salary increases for female associate and full professors

Laurier has increased the salaries of female associate and full professors based on an analysis of gender-based salary differentials conducted by a joint university-union committee.

The committee – established by university administration and the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association (WLUFA) – recommended that salaries of female faculty at the rank of associate professor be increased by 3.0 per cent and that female faculty at the rank of full professor be increased by 3.9 per cent to address a gender wage gap.

The joint committee did not find a gender difference in salary at the rank of assistant professor. This can be attributed to intentional efforts by the university in recent years to monitor starting salaries to ensure equity. Librarian salaries were also reviewed and no gender-based differences were found.

The university and WLUFA accepted the committee's recommendations. The university adjusted the salaries of female associate and full professors employed at Laurier as of July 1, 2014. The adjustments were applied retroactively to July 1, 2016. In total, 119 associate professors and 33 full professors received a pay adjustment.

"Gender equity with respect to wages and terms and conditions of employment is an important principle that Laurier must actively support to achieve its goal of enhancing and sustaining diversity within our community," said President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah MacLatchy.

Similar gender wage gaps have been identified at other Canadian universities, resulting in similar salary increases for female faculty members.

“Several Canadian universities have found gender gaps in the average salaries of their faculty members,” said Laurier Associate Professor Tammy Schirle, a WLUFA representative on the joint committee and an economist with a research expertise in gender pay issues. “Part of this is easily explained: we know that men tend to dominate the senior ranks and higher-paying fields of research. However, after accounting for such factors among faculty members within our institution, a gender pay gap remains that reflects historic and systemic issues in the determination of salaries. It is this systemic part of the pay gap that Laurier is now taking steps to address.”

The Laurier committee began its work in spring 2016 and delivered a final report of recommendations in February 2017. The committee analyzed salaries to capture the relationship between the salaries and characteristics of individuals, including years of service, individual rank and gender. The university and WLUFA will also establish a committee to develop practices aimed at preventing gender and other systemic wage gaps, as well as ensure equitable compensation and employment practices.

– Daniel Rankin