Raises during an economic downturn

written on March 1, 2012 and saved for publication until tenure

OSU lifted the freeze on pay raises after a 2+ year hiatus due to the economic downturn. Across the board, faculty received a 4% raise. Additionally, ‘equity’ raises were made to account for disparities in income between those with equivalent positions. On top of the 4% ‘cost of living’ raise, I received an additional 6% equity raise, for a 10%, unsolicited, raise.

My first reaction was anger. 10%. Say the average raise was 5%. Every college of engineering tenure-track (or tenured) faculty member has a salary in the 80th percentile or higher. There are roughly 130 such people. Those raises alone would be enough to hire 13 people at 50th percentile salaries.

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One thought on “Raises during an economic downturn

  1. Glencora Borradaile Post author

    It’s probably fairly obvious why I didn’t post this back in 2012, not wanting to look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth and all. There is another aspect that I remember feeling at the time but didn’t record. This raise came at a time when I was maximally stressed out at work. I felt completely and utterly over-worked and was not doing well health-wise as a result. The 10% raise felt undeserved and so I felt that a 10% raise indicated that I should work 10% more. But what I really wanted was to work 10% less (at least!). I have received merit-based raises since and now that I feel better about my performance at work, my reaction is similar but for different reasons. If my employer wants to reward me, wouldn’t it be nice if they asked me how I wanted to be rewarded? I would never opt for a higher salary, but rather would prefer more administrative, research and teaching support.

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