Laurier raises wages for 152 female faculty

Graphic by Madeline McInnis

Wilfrid Laurier University will increase the salaries of 152 female associate and full professors as per the recommendation of an analysis conducted by a joint university-union committee.

The committee, which was established by the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association (WLUFA) and the university administration, was mandated to identify methods of assessment in order to provide a report identifying any female faculty members whose salaries would be anomalous and whether there were gender inequalities between male and female salaries.

The committee began their work in spring 2016 and reported their findings to WLUFA and Laurier administration in Feb. 2017.

“They analyzed salaries using regression models to capture the relationship between the salaries and other characteristics of individuals; such as their year of service at Laurier, their rank, etc.,” Pamela Cant, assistant vice-president of human resources, said.

The committee also recognized through their study that there were numerous differences in starting salaries across academic units and disciplines.

For example, starting salaries within the business department may be higher than starting salaries in other faculties.

Through the committee’s recommendation, all female associate professors and full professors will receive a salary adjustment.

We feel the university must actively support and achieve their goals around enhancing diversity 

In total, 119 associate professors will receive a wage increase of three per cent and 33 full professors will receive a 3.9 per cent increase.

The adjustments will address the gender wage gap that was found.

The wage gap was addressed by the committee using a systematic approach, which was found to be the most effective method.

“You could look on a person-to-person basis to try to find a male comparator for every female faculty then determine if there’s a gap; but that’s very difficult to do because of how salaries are structured,” Cant said.

Other universities, such as University of Waterloo and McMaster, have also used this same approach to address gender wage gaps and increase female salaries.

“Gender equity with respect to wages and terms and conditions of employment is an important principle that Laurier must actively support to achieve its goal of enhancing and sustaining diversity within our community,” president-designate, Deborah MacLatchy, said.

Cant said that the committee also recommended WLUFA and the university establish a joint working committee to develop programming in order to prevent the reemergence of a gender wage gap.

“We think that’s a really important part of the recommendation because you want to maintain that gender equity and balance. That committee will be struck in order to maintain gender equality within the bargaining unit,” Cant said.

According to Laurier’s strategic academic plan, one of its key pillars emphasizes and focuses on diversity and equity at the university.

“Gender equity with respect to wages is a really important principle,”  Cant said.

“We feel the university must actively support and achieve their goals around enhancing diversity, and also attracting and retaining high quality talent … and this is a good step to achieving that.”

As for further steps, Cant explained that Laurier is fortunate to have both a female chancellor and female president-designate.

“I think that’s quite unique and it really sends a very positive message that we do value female leadership at Laurier,” she said.

“I do absolutely think that [MacLatchy] will be a role model for others in the community and externally.”

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