What Actually Happened?
So how are raises actually distributed? This is a complex question because many employees change their assignments, shift from line to line, get promoted, and even come and go. Readers may remember from the 29 November 2012 Biweekly that one way of getting a raise was by changing positions or getting promoted. But for many of us, that doesn't happen very often. So for us that stay put, how are our raises distributed?
And for those of us who do hop around, what was the effect of the merit and discretionary raises, considered in isolation?
Let's look over the last three years and compare salaries as of summer, 2010, to salaries as of summer, 2013. According to Article 23 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, UFF USF faculty and professionals were to receive an average 1.5 % merit pay increase in 2011 and an average 2 % merit raise in 2012. The USF Administration had the authority to distribute up to 1 % of the payroll in discretionary raises annually. Thus the mean raise during that time would be (if all discretionary money was disbursed) was 6.63 % (raises compound like interest).
(All this is prior to last October's state mandated $ 1,000 raise to each regular state or public employee earning at least $ 40,400 annually, which we are omitting from our computations as all raises from the 2010 – 2013 contract occurred prior to last fall.)
We looked at employees listed on a unit list provided in late August, 2010 and a unit list provided by the USF Administration in January, 2014. We focused on employees who were occupying the same positions at the same rank at August, 2010 and at August, 2013, and whose "compensation frequency" (e.g., 9-month, all-year, etc.) and whose FTE on the job didn't change. That allows us to exclude salary changes due to promotions, job changes, etc. That still left some noise (one employee's salary was somehow halved and another's somehow more than doubled), but we left that remaining noise in on the theory that it could not be reliably excluded. That leaves 719 employees out of the 1,658 that UFF represents, which only shows how much people were jumping around during that time. But these 719 employees should give us the clearest picture of the effect of the regular contractual raises, which were supposed to average out at 6.63 %; that's merit raises (distributed according to a formula based on annual evaluations) and discretionary raises (distributed at the discretion of the university).
(Actually, we compared the 2010 "annual base salary" to the 2013 "annual base benefits salary", as that is what we had data for. In 2010, all but twelve employees had nearly the same annual base and base benefits salaries within a dollar, and those twelve discrepancies looked like bad data. Nevertheless, we did take the data we used, all from GEMS, for granted. Moral: check your paystubs!)
First, a reality check: according to the U. S. Government's Consumer Price Index calculator, prices rose 6.83 % from 2010 to 2013, so the mean regular contractual raises did not pace inflation.
Looking at the 719 employees as a whole, we see that the mean salary increase over those three years was $ 4,783. If we compute the percentage increase of each employee, the mean percentage increase was 6.31 %. But to find out how employees did in general, it would be more appropriate to look at percentiles: what the employee at the 10th percentile (72nd from the bottom in the list of raises) got, what the employee at the 20th percentile (144th from the bottom) got, and so on up. And also for percentage raises, what the percentage raise for the employee at the 10th percentile of percentage raises got, what the percentage increase for the employee at the 20th percentile got, and so on up. Here they are:
Notice that the median dollar increase (half got more, half got less) was $ 3,443, as opposed to the mean (average) $ 4,783 increase. On the other hand, the median percentage increase was 4.23 %, somewhat less than the mean 6.31 % and less than the CPI increase of 6.83 %. In fact, the salaries of over 69 % of the employees did not keep up with inflation.
|10||2.30 % |
|20||3.06 % |
|30||3.40 % |
|40||3.73 % |
|50||4.23 % |
|60||5.10 % |
|70||6.93 % |
|80||9.20 % |
|90||13.18 % |
Notice that by some coincidence, the 1.5 % merit raise followed by the 2 % merit increase compounds to 3.53 %, not too far from what most people got.
Notice that the means tended to be substantially above the medians. This typically means that a few people did a lot better than most. Now let's take a peek at how employees at various ranks did.
There were a few people in categories we didn't look at, but that's all we have time for right now.
- While the mean increase for the 194 professors in our sample was $ 6,603, the median was $ 3,787. And while the mean percentage increase was 6.42 %, the median increase was 3.57 %.
- While the mean increase for the 220 associate professors in our sample was $ 4,313, the median was $ 3,754. And while the mean percentage increase was 6.57 %, the median increase was 4.49 %.
- While the mean increase for the 114 assistant professors in our sample was $ 3,729, the median increase was $ 2,583. And while the mean percentage increase was 5.63 %, the median percentage increase was 3.98 %.
- While the mean increase for the 74 instructors in our sample was $ 3,110, the median increase was $ 2,217. And while the mean percentage increase was 5.90 %, the median percentage increase was 4.62%.
- While the mean increase for the 95 librarians (all ranks), coordinators, assistants in, program directors, curators, scientists, research associates and counselors was $ 4,573, the median increase was $ 2,980. And while the mean percentage increase was 7.16 %, the median percentage increase was 3.75 %.