Higher Education Workforce Trends

Higher Education Workforce Trends icon
Evolving Faculty Patterns

Today about 70% of faculty at U.S. institutions hold full- or part-time nontenure-track positions. The TIAA Institute focuses on such issues as the quality of student learning, making the most of the growing contingent faculty and reluctant retirees. 

Want to learn more about our higher education insights? Download our 2018 TIAA Institute Higher Education Thought Leadership Annotated Bibliography.

TIAA Institute Reports

Original research produced by the TIAA Institute—both independently and in collaboration with noted scholars—examines topics of interest to the academic, nonprofit and public sectors. The reports combine statistical findings with thoughtful, data-driven observations and conclusions to provide in-depth analyses that are informative and appropriate for both technical and general audiences.

April 2015

While they enjoy the work itself, adjunct faculty have concerns about salary, job security and retirement readiness.

October 2014

In an era of severe budgetary constraints, colleges and universities have struggled to create new faculty workforce models that are responsive to the emerging needs of a new generation of diverse, nontraditional students.

May 2014

The evolution of the faculty workforce model has far-reaching implications for colleges and universities, students and other stakeholders. Today, approximately 30% of faculty are tenure track.

May 2013

In The American Faculty: The Restructuring of Academic Work and Careers (Johns Hopkins University Press) we documented how the faculty and their careers were being reshaped in fundamental ways.

February 2013

The use of non-tenure-track and part-time faculty in U.S. colleges and universities is on the rise, altering the composition of the academic workforce in fundamental ways.

August 2012

The faculty labor force in U.S. colleges and universities is increasingly off the tenure track and, often, working at less than full time. Aggregated data on this phenomenon mask significant differences in institutional commitments to these contingent forms of faculty employment.

November 2011

Senior faculty fall into three groups—25% who expect to retire by a normal retirement age; 15% who expect to, but would prefer not to, work past normal retirement age; and 60% who would like to and expect to work past normal retirement age.

July 2011

This research provides a deeper understanding of the issues facing academic institutions when age-eligible professors do not retire and how those issues can best be addressed.