Findings from the First Ever Multi-Institutional Survey of Faculty Retention & Exit [Infographic]

 
In 2017, after a successful pilot with several campuses of a large public university system, we launched our Faculty Retention and Exit Survey nationwide. This study represents the first multi-institutional survey of faculty retentions (among those with outside offers) and departures. Until now, there was no coordinated effort for universities to develop a common understanding of the causes, costs, and conduct of faculty mobility. Below are several key findings from the pilot study for practitioners.
 

Some takeaways:

 

Salary doesn’t matter as much as you probably think; colleagues matter more. More than half of faculty (57%) ranked salary as a secondary factor or not at all in their decision to stay or leave. Yet 67% selected quality of colleagues as a compelling factor.
 
Further, the study’s insights into the negotiation process are suggesting some troubling gender bias. For example, among those who didn’t ask for a counteroffer, men are more likely than women to receive one, anyway; among those who do ask for a counteroffer, women are more likely to be denied.
 
Higher education's “counteroffer culture” has real costs. Faculty are expected to cultivate outside offers before they can ask for a better deal at home. This requirement pushes them out the door: we are finding that nearly 1 in 3 faculty who left had originally sought the offer only to renegotiate the terms of their employment.
 
Universities have a “home-field advantage” in retaining dual-career couples. Retentions were nearly twice as likely as departures to have a spouse employed at the same institution. The implications for women are particularly acute: 48% of women versus 21% of men ranked spousal employment as a primary factor in their decision to stay or leave.
 
Continue reading for a breakdown of our findings, as well as recommended practices for improving faculty retention, negotiation processes, and overall satisfaction with their institutions as places to work:
 
COACHE Faculty Retention and Exit Survey Infographic
 
To request a copy of the full pilot study briefing, email coache@gse.harvard.edu