Public Affairs

In-Depth Analysis Shows no Gender Bias in CSU Merit Pay

An in-depth analysis of the California State University merit pay program has found that there is no gender bias against women systemwide or at any individual campus. In fact, when faculty rank distribution is considered, women faculty actually fare slightly better than men in the current CSU merit pay program.

Taking into account rank, women request consideration for awards at or above male levels, and women receive:

  • A significantly higher number of merit awards than expected
  • A significantly larger dollar amount than men
  • A significantly larger percentage increase than men.

The analysis, conducted by Resolution Economics, provides both systemwide and campus-specific information on the merit pay program. It was presented to the fact-finding panel appointed to help the CSU and the California Faculty Association (CFA) reach an agreement and includes more comprehensive and conclusive data than Resolution Economics' preliminary report presented in September to the CSU Board of Trustees. Merit pay is the main issue in the ongoing contract negotiations between the CSU and the CFA. According to Resolution Economics, a different report commissioned by the CFA included only preliminary data and omitted statistics by rank, which would bias their results and render the findings questionable.

"This report provides even more evidence that the CSU merit pay program is fair to both women and men. It looks at the merit awards at the rank level, which is critical to producing meaningful analysis," said Jackie McClain, CSU vice chancellor for human resources. "The CSU continues its commitment to a merit pay program that effectively rewards outstanding faculty accomplishments. It is hoped that we can use this report and the recommendations of the fact-finding panel to reach an agreement with the faculty union very soon."

The report indicates how important faculty rank is in the analysis of the merit pay program. While about three-fourths of all full professors received merit pay in 1998 and 1999, only about a third of all lecturers did. By rank, female full professors, associate professors and lecturers all proportionally receive significantly more awards than males. There is no significant difference between men and women at the assistant professor rank. However, the high number of male faculty at the highest paying ranks can skew overall numbers systemwide and on some campuses.

A large percentage of the CSU faculty was hired during the huge enrollment growth in the 1960s at a time when there were fewer opportunities for women than there are today. That's why 58 percent of all CSU faculty are men and three- fourths of CSU full professors are men, while the lower paying ranks have a higher percentage of women. For example, women make up 52 percent of CSU lecturers, 51 percent of assistant professors, and 46.5 percent of associate professors, but only 26 percent of full professors, the highest paying rank.

Women receive equal or larger merit awards than men at every rank but lecturer. The following are average merit increases per month for women and men by rank:

  • Professor - $140 for women and $124 for men
  • Associate professor - $131 for women and $125 for men
  • Assistant professor - $124 for women and $124 for men
  • Lecturer - $47 for women and $50 for men.

In addition, women receive larger percent increases on average in every rank but lecturer:

  • Professor - 2.50 percent for women to 2.13 percent for men
  • Associate professor - 2.84 percent for women to 2.64 percent for men
  • Assistant professor - 3.21 percent for women to 3.16 percent for men
  • Lecturer - 2.39 percent for women to 2.47 percent for men.

It has been the policy of the CSU Trustees for several years that merit pay should be one instrument to help take the CSU to the next level of quality by providing financial rewards to faculty considered outstanding by their peers.

The CFA contract has included a merit pay program since 1995. The current merit pay program was agreed to by the CFA and is in their current contract, which expires in June 2001. The current program uses 40 percent of the entire faculty salary increase pool for merit increases and service salary increases.

Both the percentage of CSU women faculty overall and the percentage in the highest ranks have risen by about 15 percent over the past five years. Currently more than half of the new faculty hired at the CSU are women. The hiring of faculty includes the involvement of committees of tenured faculty members, who evaluate candidates and make recommendations to campus deans on new faculty to be hired on each CSU campus.

The fact-finding panel is expected to issue a report recommending a settlement on the outstanding issues within the next month.

For more information on merit pay at the CSU, go to, and click on "Merit Pay Q&A" dated Sept. 20. To see the analysis by Resolution Economics, go to

November 9, 2000