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2017 August 21

UC salary numbers

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 13:12
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UC posts their entire payroll (redacting names for student jobs) each year.  The 2016 numbers can now be found at

I was curious about several things: who were the most highly paid at UCSC, how much coaches were paid (the top four payments systemwide were UCB and UCLA coaches), and how my pay corresponds to my colleagues.

Most highly paid

UCSC had 87 people paid $200,000 or more in 2016.  The most highly paid was Chancellor Blumenthal at $396,866 (though I don’t think tat includes the value of his housing and other perks). There were about 24 administrators in this group, though many of them are technically also faculty, even if they aren’t currently teaching.  All five of those who make over $300,000 are faculty, though only one of the five (Lederman) is listed as a professor, rather than by an administrative title.

A surprising number of those paid over $200,000 were astronomers—they get paid more than I expected.  The highest-paid faculty who are not also listed as administrators are Lederman, Madau, and Lin (all physics, astrophysics, or astronomy).

Although I think that a few of those making over $200,000 are overpaid, the numbers are not ridiculous (unlike the millions spent for some of the employees at UCB and UCLA).


There are 671 employees across all campuses with “coach” in their title, with payments ranging from $125 to $3,577,299.  UCSC has 45 of them, but the pay range is only $1,708 to $74,902.  This does not count the 4 “ath trainer” positions at UCSC ($9,736–$43,447).

Coaches are not being paid generously at UCSC, so though I still think it unwise for students to be paying fees for supporting intercollegiate athletes (rather than physical education and recreation, which all can participate in), the coaches are not getting rich off the students (unlike UCB and UCLA, where 53 of the top-paid 60 UC coaches work).  If we add in the “ath mgr” positions, UCB comes out even worse.  A big chunk of UCB’s deficit comes from the stadium boondoggle, but UCB continues to pour money down the athletics rathole.

I’m glad that UCSC is not wasting money at the rate that UCB and UCLA are, but I do wish that UCSC would return to the days when student athletes paid for their own entertainment, rather than taxing other students.


My pay is relatively modest—I came out 430th on the list for UCSC.  UCSC is listed as having paid 12,288 people in 2016, though many of those got only tiny amounts.  Of those getting $1000 or more, there were 10,480, of those making $21,000 or more (CA minimum wage at full time) there were 4,248, of those making $30,000 or more (UC’s theoretical $15/hour minimum at full time) there were 3,580.  So I’m estimating that I’m at around the 89th percentile for full-time workers at UCSC: a comfortable pay, but nothing extraordinary.  Among the professors at UCSC who are listed as professors (not administrators), I’m at 263 out of about 566: a little above the median (the total count includes faculty who were only there for part of the year or who had “visiting faculty” positions, but not “recall faculty” who have retired but are rehired to teach a course or two).

In the UC system as a whole, I’m at position 26,585 out of 141,138 making $30k or more (only about the 81%ile—the med-center campuses pay a lot more than UCSC does).


I was curious was postdocs get paid across the UC system and at UCSC.  The range is huge across the system from $14 to $255,950.  (The tiny amounts are probably not really pay—there are tiny reimbursements and honoraria that get counted as pay in the UC system.)  The huge amount is from UCSF, and probably comes from clinical work by an MD.

At UCSC the range is $557 to $70,833, similar to the range for coaches.  The median pay for postdocs at UCSC is $39,150.  This is just above what the City of Santa Cruz requires as a living wage (currently $16.21/hour plus benefits) and is reasonable for a single person, but not for someone supporting a child as well.

There are not many postdocs listed as such on the UCSC payroll (only 173), and many of them were probably there for only part of the year, so the number of postdocs on the payroll at one time is probably only 100–120.

Teaching Assistants

Graduate teaching assistants (“teachg asst” in the compensation database) are more numerous—there are 1003 listed (without names) for UCSC with payments from $91 to $41,927.  The median pay is $15,219.  Given that the median workload is 20 hours a week for 33 weeks, that is a respectable $23/hour, but it is not enough to live on in Santa Cruz.  MIT’s living wage calculator estimates that a single adult in Santa Cruz County needs about $27,779 before taxes (though the calculation probably needs to be fixed for grad students, as they do get some medical and transportation benefits that can reduce costs, but housing within reasonable distance of campus is more expensive than county-wide).

I was a little surprised to see the variation in how much TAs were paid at UCSC, as I thought that the pay scales were fixed.  Quite a few students got $14,995 (so that was probably the scale amount), but above that almost everyone had a different amount.  I wonder what made the differences?

2013 July 22

Santa Cruz wages are dropping

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 10:56
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According to the LA Times, in Santa Cruz among top 10 list of cities with plunging wages,

Only one California city ranked in the top 10: Santa Cruz. At No. 10, the coastal city saw average wages drop 0.8% in the last year. Average pay was $849 a week.

Note, however, that they were not really looking at the city, but at “Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.”  This includes a lot of seasonal agricultural labor, which has very low pay scales.  The author of the article (Shan Li) does not give the source for her average wage data.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel in Santa Cruz County reports 108,900 jobs in June; unemployment 7.9 percent, reports

The Santa Cruz County labor force grew to a record 161,800 in June, the largest in 32 years, as new college graduates went job-hunting yet unemployment did not rise.

A whopping 5,700 jobs were added last month, many more than the 10-year average of 3,600, bringing the total to 108,900 full-time and part-time jobs.

Locally, the bulk of the jobs added in June were in agriculture as farm employment expanded from 8,700 to 12,800.

There is a lot of information in the Sentinel article about numbers of jobs and commuter imbalance (into and out of the county), but almost nothing about wages.  The large growth in low-paid agricultural jobs is almost certainly seasonal (berry-picking, for example).

2012 July 2

When did things go wrong?

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 11:10
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For decades, the prevailing belief in the US has been that increases in productivity help everyone—the usual cliché is “a rising tide lifts all boats”.  When I was growing up, this actually seemed to be true, but lately it seems that the rich get richer and the working class stagnate.  Someone has finally put together a very simple graph that illustrates when the social compact started failing.  It looks like workers were paid proportionate to their productivity (on average, not necessarily as individuals) from 1948 to 1972, but from 1972 on there has been no real growth in their compensation, despite continuing increases in productivity.  The tide has continued to rise, but only the boats of the rich have risen.

Note: Hourly compensation is of production/nonsupervisory workers in the private sector and productivity is for the total economy.
Source: The wedges between productivity and median compensation growth | Economic Policy Institute. Lawrence Mishel‘s analysis of unpublished total economy data from Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Productivity and Costs program and Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income and Product Accounts public data series

The nearly linear growth in productivity sustained over 6 decades is amazing, and the sharp change in hourly compensation from tracking productivity to being constant is equally surprising.  What policy change around 1972 affected almost all employment agreements from then on?

Note: the analysis was done in constant dollars (correcting for inflation), but there is an important technical point that the authors point out:

… the output measure used to compute productivity is converted to real, or constant (inflation-adjusted), dollars, based on the components of national output (GDP). On the other hand, average hourly compensation and the measures of median hourly compensation are converted to real, or constant, dollars based on measures of price change in what consumers purchase. Prices for national output have grown more slowly than prices for consumer purchases. Therefore, the same growth in nominal, or current dollar, wages and output yields faster growth in real (inflation-adjusted) output (which is adjusted for changes in the prices of investment goods, exports, and consumer purchases) than in real wages (which is adjusted for changes in consumer purchases only). That is, workers have suffered worsening terms of trade, in which the prices of things they buy (i.e., consumer goods and services) have risen faster than the items they produce (consumer goods but also capital goods). Thus, if workers consumed microprocessors and machine tools as well as groceries, their real wage growth would have been better and more in line with productivity growth.

Mishel breaks up the growing disparity between productivity and wage income into multiple components:

  • Growing compensation inequity: top earners getting relatively more compensation than workers
  • Shrinking labor share: more of the productivity gains going to the owners of capital
  • Terms of trade: divergence in the value of what is produced and what is consumed

He analyzes how much each of the components contributes to the gap:

Over the entire 1973 to 2011 period, roughly half (46.9 percent) of the growth of the productivity-median compensation gap was due to increased compensation inequality and about a fifth (19 percent) due to a loss in labor’s income share. About a third of the gap has been driven by price differences.

He concludes with a stirring call to action:

Reestablishing the link between productivity and pay of the typical worker is an essential component of any effort to provide shared prosperity and, in fact, may be necessary for obtaining robust growth without relying on asset bubbles and increased household debt. It is hard to see how reestablishing a link between productivity and pay can occur without restoring decent and improved labor standards, restoring the minimum wage to a level corresponding to half the average wage (as it was in the late 1960s), and making real the ability of workers to obtain and practice collective bargaining.

This approach will be totally ignored by our politicians, who rely almost entirely on highly compensated CEOs and the owners of capital for their re-election funding. Unfortunately, our populace is too easily manipulated by the rich, and will vote for the politicians most adept at increasing the gap between the rich and the workers.

Incidentally, the average hourly wage in the US was $23.41 in May 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so Mishel is arguing for a national minimum wage around $11.70/hour (rather than the current $7.25), undoubtedly with higher minimum wages in more expensive states with higher average compensation. Currently the state of Washington has the highest minimum wage at $9.04/hour, still far short of what Mishel sees as necessary.

(Thanks to Sociological Images for pointing me to this graph, even if they were too sloppy in their scholarship to follow the links to the original report.)

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