New CUPA-HR Report Shows Decreases in Higher Ed Staff Workforce During COVID-19

July 2, 2021

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Title: 2021 Staff in Higher Education Annual Report

Source: CUPA-HR

Authors: Sarah Nadel-Hawthorne, Melissa Fuesting, Anthony Schmidt, and Jacqueline Bichsel


CUPA-HR recently released results from its annual report on staff in higher education. The report includes key data on staff demographics, trends in salaries, and changes to the workforce over the first year of the pandemic. Key findings from the report include:

  • The higher education staff workforce decreased during the pandemic. The decrease was greatest among part-time non-exempt staff (17 percent). Full-time non-exempt staff had a much smaller decrease of 3.2 percent.
  • The overall median salary increase for staff between the 2019 and 2020 academic years was the lowest increase since 2014 – 0.75 percent.
  • The representation of women and people of color in the staff workforce remained at similar levels from 2019, suggesting that workforce cuts did not disproportionately impact these populations.
  • An increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour would require a salary adjustment for 23 percent of college and university staff.

To read an overview and the full report, please click here.

—Morgan Taylor

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