Salary Survey Trends 2009–2010 · 11
Many readers of previous surveys have inquired about evidence of gender-based salary differentials in
ARL libraries. Additionally, data on salary comparisons for directors also are frequently requested. 2009–2010
repeated a trend observed in 2008–2009, the average salary for female directors was slightly higher than that
of their male counterparts (see Table 17); furthermore, the number of women in the top administrative library
position continued to increase (68 female directors out of 114 total director positions reported; compared to 63 out
of 111 in 2008–2009).
However, salaries for women have not yet met parity with that of men (see Table 17): in 2009–2010 (just as
in 2008–2009) the overall salary for women was only 96.2% that of men for the 114 ARL university libraries
(compared to 95.39% in 2007–2008). This suggests a slow, long-term trend towards closure of the gender gap in
ARL libraries — in 1980–1981 women in ARL libraries made roughly 87% that of men.
Table 17 displays 27 job categories; females earn more than their male counterparts in just 10 of 27 categories
listed. Table 18 provides average years of professional experience for many of the same staffing categories for
which salary data are shown in Table 17, revealing that experience differentials may explain some differences
within specific job categories. Women have more experience in all but three of the 10 job categories in which they
average higher pay, but there are other categories in which women, on average, have more experience and less
pay: Assistant Director, Functional Specialist, and Department Head — Other. Table 19 further reveals that the
average salary for men is consistently higher than the average salary for women in nine of the ten experience
cohorts, a pattern that is also repeated among minority librarians: the average salary for minority men is higher
than that for minority women in eight of the ten experience cohorts (see Table 30).
There is a sense that the gender gap persists in academe in areas beyond the library and that a renewed
commitment to resolve the problem is needed.3 A variety of reasons have been offered as to why these trends
persist, most notably the perception that work is peripheral in a woman’s life and, consequently, female-
dominated professions are undervalued. Librarianship is predominantly and persistently a woman’s profession.
The scarcity of men in the profession has been well documented in many studies — the largest percentage of
men employed in ARL libraries was 38.2% in 1980–1981; since then men have consistently represented about 35%
of the professional staff in ARL libraries.
The Functional Specialist Breakdown
In 2004, the ARL Statistics and Measurement Committee accepted a proposal from the ACRL Personnel
Administrators and Staff Development Officers Discussion Group to break down the Functional Specialist
category (FSPEC). The group’s major concern was that so many different types of positions, with their varying
job descriptions and salaries, were being labeled with the code FSPEC that data reported for the category were
beginning to lose meaning. For each position that would have been labeled FSPEC in past years, the proposal
offered ARL institutions two options: either use one of eight new codes to describe that position; or, if none
of the eight new codes could adequately describe that position, use FSPEC. As seen in Figure 4, only 15.6% of
Functional Specialists in all libraries did not use an alternative code, a slight decrease from 17% in 2008–2009. Of
the positions that did use an alternate code, 63.2% were Archivists or Information Technology specialists.
3 There are many instances citing the continuation of gender inequity in academia. See, for example: Denise K. Manger’s
articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Faculty Salaries Increased 3.7% in 1999–2000” (14 April 2000: A20) and “Faculty
Salaries are Up 3.6%, Double the Rate of Inflation” (23 April 1999: A16); D. W. Miller, “Salary Gap Between Male and Female
Professors Grows Over the Years, Study Suggests,” Chronicle of Higher Education, Today’s News, 27 April 2000; and Yolanda
Moses, “Salaries in Academe: The Gender Gap Persists,” Chronicle of Higher Education 12 December 1997: A60.