On Campus

Professor pay ranked from highest to lowest

What profs at 59 Canadian universities earned in 2010-11

Professor by Rainer Ebert on Flickr

CPhoto by Rainer Ebert on Flickr


Every student has heard at least one professor complain that he or she is overworked. At certain times, that’s no doubt true. But the annual Statistics Canada report on full-time faculty salaries shows that along with the big workloads come big salaries. The average full-time professor earned $115,513 in 2010-11. The average full-time employee in Canada earns just $50,000.

Does that mean we should all enroll in PhDs? Not exactly. The number of PhDs is increasing rapidly, while the number of professors hired in 2010-11 was up just 0.8 per cent over the year before. The professoriate is graying: the average age is 50.

Below are the the median salaries for all ranks of full-time professors, including deans, but excluding dental and medical professors. The breakdown: 33 per cent were full professors, 34 per cent were associates, 23 per cent were assistants and 10 per cent were unranked.

1. University of Toronto ($136,483)
2. Queen’s University ($133,395)
3. McMaster University ($131,696)
4. University of Guelph ($127,307)
5. University of Waterloo ($127,238)
6. York University ($126,664)
7. University of Alberta ($126,549)
8. École Polytechnique ($123,524)
9. Ryerson University ($121,469)
10. Brock University ($119,472)
11. Trent University ($119,387)
12. University of Calgary ($117,682)
13. University of Windsor ($116,998)
14. Laurentian University ($116,214)
15. University of Ottawa ($115,839)
16. Western University ($114,835)
17. University of Saskatchewan ($114,807)
18. Carleton University ($114,413)
19. University of British Columbia ($114,356)
20. Lakehead University ($112,392)
21. Université Laval ($111,638)
22. Simon Fraser University ($109,447)
23. Université de Sherbrooke ($108,785)
24. McGill University ($108,506)
25. Royal Military College of Canada ($108,150)
26. Dalhousie University ($108,041)
27. Wilfrid Laurier University ($105,270)
28. University of Victoria ($105,029)
29. Université du Québec à Montréal ($104,943)
30. University of Manitoba ($104,241)
31. University of New Brunswick ($103,785)
32. Mount St. Vincent ($103,827)
33. Saint Mary’s University ($101,879)
34. Ontario University Institute of Technology ($100,441)
35. Concordia University ($100,244)
36. University of Prince Edward Island ($99,867)
37. University of Lethbridge ($99,592)
38. Université de Moncton ($99,450)
39. University of Regina ($98,614)
40. Mount Allison University ($98,327)
41. Mount Royal University ($97,218)
42. Grant MacEwan University ($96,987)
43. Acadia University ($94,500)
44. Nipissing University ($94,438)
45. OCAD Univeristy ($94,387)
46. St. Thomas University ($94,339)
47. Athabasca University ($93,214)
48. Bishop’s University ($92,701)
49. Brandon University ($88,026)
50. St. Francis Xavier University ($85,252)
51. Capilano University ($84,896)
51. Kwantlen Polytechnic University ($84,896)
52. University of Winnipeg ($84,766)
53. Thompson Rivers University ($84,542)
54. University of the Fraser Valley ($83,231)
55. Vancouver Island University ($82,946)
56. University of Northern British Columbia ($82,835)
57. Cape Breton University ($81,384)
58. Trinity Western University ($67,229)

It’s difficult to say who is overpaid or underpaid, but it’s clear that the top-paying schools are also highly ranked in the annual Maclean’s University Rankings—with a few notable exceptions. For example, Brock and Trent both pay an average of $119,000, despite having much lower ranks than similar schools in small cities, like the University of Prince Edward Island ($99,867) and the University of Northern British Columbia ($82,835), which are top three schools in their category.

Why should students care what professors make? Well, if they’re paid too little, the brightest PhDs will turn to industry instead of academia and universities will suffer.

At the same time, students would rather see their increasing tuition go to hiring new staff or cutting class size. That isn’t happening. The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance points out that 70 per cent of new government funding and tuition increases in Ontario between 2004 and 2009 were eaten up by salaries and benefits—mostly for existing staff.

Josh Dehaas is the editor of Maclean’s On Campus. Follow him on Twitter @JoshDehaas. Follow @maconcampus and like us on Facebook to keep up with our daily opinion and university news.

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