Q. Why have only top administrators received raises over the past several while other employees have not? This doesn’t seem fair.

A. As a group, chancellors, the president, senior vice presidents and other top administrators have received the same general increases as other employees: 0% for 2004-05 and 2003-04, and 1.5% for 2002-03.

It is true that we have had to pay higher salaries for new chancellors and certain other positions where we had to compete on the open market, but this should not be confused with giving raises to all top administrators. Similarly, we have had to compete on the open market for other staff positions and pay higher salaries to recruit them, so this phenomenon is not solely related to top administrators.

Q. The SF Chronicle story suggests that compensation for senior UC leaders is too high. What’s UC’s response?

A. While the salaries and benefits for UC leaders may look high to some, it is important to recognize that their compensation, in many cases, is inferior to what many other institutions offer. Each year, the Chronicle of Higher Education publishes a survey that compares the compensation packages of university leaders; it shows UC leaders lagging far behind those of many other peer institutions. Another survey that made similar findings was conducted by the California Postsecondary Education Commission.

Additionally, a recent total compensation study by Mercer Consulting found the average salary lag of the employee groups studied, which included senior management, to be 15%.

Chart on how salaries for senior UC managers compare with those at competing universities  

Q. The Chronicle implies that UC understates the salaries of some employees, including its senior leaders. Is this true?

A. The Chronicle’s characterizations are misleading. When most people ask about compensation and benefits for senior UC leaders, they’re referring to regular ongoing salary and benefits. UC provides this information, along with information about other regular components of their compensation package, such as car and housing allowances, life insurance, etc.

Occasionally, employees receive one-time payments for certain expenses (i.e., relocation allowances or transitional assistance associated with a new hire or a move). While not considered regular annual compensation, they must be reported as such under IRS rules. But this does not mean that UC is “underreporting” someone’s regular compensation.

Additionally, compensation that UC executives receive from their involvement in outside organizations (i.e., serving on boards) is reported annually and is made available to the public upon request.

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