Interesting article in the Chronicle (subscription needed, at this point), indicates that the higher salaries of the top universities often come with much higher costs of living. For example:
The index of more than 300 places sets the national average at 100. Fittingly, Normal, Ill., the home of Illinois State University, is right at the cost-of-living average. Full professors there earn an average salary of $76,700. That may not sound so great. But consider this: The average salary for a full professor at New York University, a whopping $144,000, works out to just $70,000 once the high cost of living in Manhattan is figured in.
Of course, NYU didn’t hire me (bastards!) so, I am doing the stupidest thing ever, and reverse commuting: this year to bucolic Buffalo, where the average home is less than $100K (in NYC, the average apartment went for $1.3 million this year), and soon to equally suburban Connecticut. I’m dumb.
I am pretty happy with what I get paid, especially since it is–formally, at least–part time work. Yes, I could be making much more as another sort of professional, but I suspect that academics who want to be making more money do, through consulting and other forms of moonlighting. In other words, although the salary of a full professor continues to rise more slowly than inflation, I think that we are better off than we think we are, and far better off than we will be in ten years.
Comforting thought of the week.