Canadian profs: the world’s highest paid

Meanwhile, in Quebec…

by Josh Dehaas

Photo by mrhayata on Flickr

Just as tens of thousands of Quebec students are expected to skip class and protest a tuition increase of $1625, a new study shows that Canada’s professors are the world’s highest paid.

U.S. and Russian researchers used Purchasing Power Parity for their global salary comparison, in order to account for vastly different costs of living.

The researchers found that full-time Canadian professors make the equivalent of $68,796 (USD) at the beginning of their careers, $86,352 at mid-career and $113,820 at the end of their careers.

By comparison, professors in the United Kingdom, seventh on the list, make $20,346 less than Canadian professors at the beginning of their careers and $25,524 less than their Canadian counterparts near the end of their careers.

Canada’s rank as the salary king is likely to stir the debate over whether university employees are overcompensated in terms of salaries and pensions at a time when tuition is rising.

After all, 70 per cent of new spending by universities in recent years went to salaries and pensions, mostly for existing faculty, according to the Ontario University Student Alliance.

The new compensation study is from the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College and Moscow’s National Research University Higher School of Economics. It will form part of a book called Paying the Professoriate: A Global Comparison of Compensation and Contracts.

Canada is followed by Italy, South Africa, India, the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Netherlands and Germany. For the full picture of how salaries compare across countries and a discussion of some of the study’s flaws, see Inside Higher Education.

If you’re curious what full-time professors at your Canadian university take home, click here.

Canadian profs: the world’s highest paid

  1. This is Dehaas’ umpteenth rant about professorial salaries and/or pensions. Yet in each article he fails to consider the massive disparity between different disciplines (e.g. arts profs make less than bus drivers), the years of zero income and high debt training required, the slim chances of landing a tenure track job, and a whole host of other factors.

    Josh, why are you constantly taking shots at professors?

  2. I live in Winnipeg , Manitoba , and for years now the School /Education tax is higher than all the othere services combined. The teachers here are the highest paid in Canada. Our graduation of smart students is below the National average.

  3. Maybe arts profs should be bus drivers.

  4. School teachers in the Yukon make that much!

  5. Personally think they are underpaid. With all the massive costs to be qualified to teach and risks associated they aren`t compensated well enough.

  6. [The author] noted that there was one financial finding that was consistent across all of the countries studied: The middle class may be open to academics in many countries, but for most, they are not going to be 1 percenters. “In some countries the academic profession does all right,” Altbach said. “But in no country are they treated like a key element of the international knowledge economy. No exception.”

  7. In the UK they get many more weeks of holidays throughout the year, and the work ethic is below par (I know, I worked there). I never knew one prof to put in an hour of overtime in the UK. Here in Canada, I typically put in at least an extra 20 hours a week, every single week. Haven’t taken a vacation in 6 years. It’s just not possible. We are overworked like crazy.

    In the US, the workloads are more comparable but they get a 9-month salary and are expected to get research grants to pay for the rest of the year. In Canada, we can’t use grants to pay ourselves, no matter how much overtime we put in (and we do). Moreover, they took the private universities out of the equation, where most of the best profs do their work, and they left in all the thousands of tiny little rinky-dink colleges where profs only teach and are paid very little.

    It’s really not possible to make the comparison on dollars alone.

  8. What on earth does “overtime” work mean in academia where short work days and work years are the rule? Profs have an eight month work year sloughing off actual teaching to underpaid assistants/slaves. The length of their work day is at their own discretion when they teach only a couple of classes a semester. If they work during the summer months, that’s additional income. The gravy is buried in their overgenerous benefits including pensions for which they pay far less than long suffering taxpayers and paid sabbaticals every 5 years or so as well as an unconscionable number of sick days. If a study ever factored in hours worked (fewer than most Canadian professionals) and benefits (richer than most Canadian professionals) then Canadian profs would be found to be making out like bandits while undergraduate education has deteriorated. Having said all that, an even more egregious misuse of education funds is on administration which could be cut to the bone tomorrow with no one suffering except the fat cat administrators themselves whose main job appears to be wooing donors to pay for the administrators and professors delivering a substandard product to students.

    • It is interesting that the data by university does not include profs at Quebec universities. I suspect that the education authorities there are embarassed to reveal that by Canadian standards Quebec universities are underfunded but pay their profs even more generously than the Canadian average.
      My suggestion to the students on strike there is that they say: we agree to contribute to rising university costs by paying more tuition in each of the next five years if our profs freeze their salaries for that same period.

    • You are kidding, right?

      All the profs I know are at the university early in the morning – 8 am or earlier, and most are still in their officers at 5 pm or later.

      All of the profs I know work hard during the summer, doing research. And yes, they are doing actual research themselves, not just supervising graduate students.

      Then most of the profs I know (although not all) serve on various boards, committees, advisory groups, etc., both at the university and out in the community. That also takes up time beyond simply lecturing, supervising, and grading.

      And yes, plenty of profs grade assignments, papers, and exams themselves. Some of them share the workload with TAs, others do all of their work themselves if they don’t have a TA or grad student to do the work for them.

      I don’t know any profs that have an 8 month work year – they all work year-round, either teaching, doing research, or both.

  9. “What on earth does “overtime” work mean in academia where short work days and work years are the rule?”

    What? Can I have that job, please?

    ” Profs have an eight month work year sloughing off actual teaching to underpaid assistants/slaves.”

    No, they don’t. They work year round. They have administrative and research duties during their non-teaching terms.

    “The length of their work day is at their own discretion when they teach only a couple of classes a semester.”

    Really? Tell that to all the committees I serve on, the research grant projects and colleagues I collaborate with, the grad students I supervise, etc. etc.

    “If they work during the summer months, that’s additional income. ”
    No, it’s only in the United States that profs can keep part of their research grant money. In Canada, you cannot pay yourself from grants.

    “The gravy is buried in their overgenerous benefits including pensions for which they pay far less than long suffering taxpayers and paid sabbaticals every 5 years or so as well as an unconscionable number of sick days.”

    First, sabbaticals by their DEFINITION are only once every 7 years, and they have to be earned and applied for. They’re not guaranteed, and you still have to do research on your sabbatical, it’s just a break from teaching so that you can brush up on your skills. Secondly, we don’t get to take sick days because we’re too buried up to our necks in work. If I took a day off, I’d come back to 300 more emails the next day. Thirdly, we contribute half (at least) of our pension money where I work. Most universities are the same. The rest is considered our benefits, which we consider part of the job when we take the position. We accept lower pay (than other professionals) and get some perks.

    “If a study ever factored in hours worked (fewer than most Canadian professionals) and benefits (richer than most Canadian professionals) then Canadian profs would be found to be making out like bandits while undergraduate education has deteriorated.”

    Actually, studies HAVE been done and found that profs do more unpaid overtime than any other profession.

    Seriously, you obviously have no clue what you’re talking about so why comment at all?

  10. Here are some studies regarding overtime and professors. As you will see, in Canada, the US and the UK, profs do inordinate unpaid overtime every single week.

    http://www.jobquality.ca/indicators/job_demands/dem3.shtml
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2005/feb/24/schools.highereducation
    http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/issues/facwork/

    We have to track every hour of our time for our annual reports, and I can tell you nearly all of us incur hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime every single year.

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