Full-time teaching staff at Canadian universities are becoming more female, but also older, according to a new survey (Black Press Media File).

Women closing the professor gap in numbers and salary

Four out of 10 individuals teaching full-time at Canadian public universities in 2018-19 were women

A new survey shows Canada’s professoriate is becoming more female, but also older.

More than 40 per cent of the 46,440 individuals teaching full-time at Canadian public universities in 2018-19 were women — up from 13 per cent in 1970/1971. This figure means the sociology of Canada’s professoriate is starting to match the Canadian workforce.

Women also make up a growing share of the academic leadership at the Canadian universities. Whereas women accounted for five per cent of university deans in 1971-72, they made up 38 per cent in 2018-19.

But if women make up a growing and more influential share of the Canadian professoriate, they still lag behind their male colleagues in salaries, with the proviso that the difference is less than in other fields.

RELATED: $20K pay gap between women, men in Canadian tech jobs

Canada’s professors are also greying in line with the rest of the Canadian workforce. Professors under the age of 40 made up 15 per cent of the professoriate in 2018-19, while 24 per cent fell within the category of 60 years and older. This aging has become especially apparent when looking at the sub-category of those 65 years and older. Their share had risen to 11 per cent of the overall professoriate in 2018-19, up from three per cent in 2005-06.

This increase has coincided with the end of provincial mandatory retirement legislation in most provinces in the mid 2000s, but also the general trend towards an aging workforce.

The report from Statistics Canada also finds that a growing share of teaching staff at the highest rank of full professor are earning a larger share of the income pie, which has not grown much. Whereas full professors accounted for 20 per cent of all full-time teaching staff in 1970-71, their share has since risen to 36 per cent. At the same time, wages and salaries of academic staff have changed little since 2000-01.

“This can be attributed to the increasing presence of the higher-paid teaching staff being offset by the diminishing numbers at the entry level (assistant professor),” says Statistics Canada in an accompanying analysis.


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