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Tech Faculty, Staff Below Median Salaries In New Study

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Tech Faculty, Staff Below Median Salaries In New Study

Tennessee Tech faculty salaries are five percent below the market median, while staff salaries are 16 percent below the market median.

That according to the results of a new salary study shared with the Board of Trustees Thursday. Trustees voted to use some $1.76 million in money held back in this year’s budget to bring all permanent university employees to a minimum salary of $15 per hour. Tech President Phil Oldham said it would take about three calendar years to deal with all of the recommendations of the study.

“Address what we would say are the most significant findings in the Mercer study to bring things closer to market across the board,” Oldham said. “What we’re doing in this first phase will not address all the issues, and everybody needs to understand that this is our first attempt, and it will take a concerted effort over multiple years to get everybody in line with the market.”

The second step of the plan would allocate $2.28 million for recurring salary increases, pending passage of the new state budget.

The study compared like-minded universities in the southeast, while also considering broader industries of similar size as employers. In the case of faculty, the Mercer study considered academic peers including public institutions within the state, as well as similar universities in surrounding states. For staff positions, the company compiled a 50-50 blend of higher education jobs as well as a broader marketplace data of other industries, scoped to similar size organizations.

“We compete on a daily basis to keep the best here at Tennessee Tech,” Oldham said. “We want to make sure our compensation plans and infrastructure is up to the very top level so that we can compete successfully.”

The College of Engineering was the only academic unit with salaries above the median. Among staff, all salaries categories ranked below the middle of the market.

“But more significantly so for the support level staff and the professional level staff,” Mercer’s Matt Mullen said. “So really those individual contributors. And as an institution that represents the bulk of your workforce.”


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