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Academic instructors in Canada advancing towards gender parity, but getting older

Statistics Canada releases its latest data on the numbers and salaries of full-time teaching staff for the 2018-2019 academic year.


Women continue to climb the academic ladder, reaching near parity or better with men at all ranks except for full professor. That’s according to the latest data from Statistics Canada on the number and salaries of full-time teaching staff at Canadian universities, provided by the University and College Academic Staff Survey, or UCASS.

Lisa Lynch, an associate professor in of journalism at Concordia University.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 41 percent of full-time academic teaching staff were women, compared with 13 percent in 1970-1971. Broken down by rank, in 2018-2019, 44 percent of associate professors, 50 percent of assistant professors and 55 percent at the level below assistant professor were women. In 1970-1971, by contrast, women accounted for eight percent of associate professors, 14 percent of assistant professors and 28 percent at the level below assistant professor. For full professors, women are currently at 28 percent, an increase from just three percent in 1970-1971 (see the interactive graph, below).

Hover over each graph to see the numbers in more detail.

This year, StatsCan also highlighted the increase in female deans, rising from five percent in 1971-1972 (the first year in which data on deans were collected) to 38 percent in the past academic year. At the assistant dean level, the share of women has risen from four percent in 1971-1972 to 44 percent in 2018-2019.

An aging professoriate

Among other key findings, the professoriate is getting older: the proportion of staff in the youngest cohort (under 40 years of age) declined from 59 percent in 1970-1971 to 15 percent in 2018-2019, while the share of staff in the oldest age cohort (60 years and older) rose from four percent to 24 percent over the same time period. This change reflects the movement of the baby-boomer generation through the system and the end of mandatory retirement more than a decade ago (see interactive graph 2, below).

There has also been a shift in the structure of full-time academic staff. In 1970-1971, full professors and associate professors accounted for 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively, of all full-time teaching staff. In 2018-2019, the corresponding figures were 36 percent and 34 percent.

Salaries by institution size

Generally speaking, the larger the institution, the higher the average salary. At the University of Toronto, for example, the average salary in 2018-2019, all ranks combined (excluding the medical and dental faculties), was $179,100 for men and $156,800 for women. At a large comprehensive university like Simon Fraser University, the average salaries were $139,975 for men and $129,350 for women. At a smaller regional university such as Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, the corresponding numbers were $122,100 and $116,475. (For a full list of average salaries by institution, see here.)

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  1. Parker Johnson / December 11, 2019 at 13:42

    Thank you for the report. What does the data look like when disaggregated for racialized and Indigenous people?

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