Accountability Report 2015

Chapter 6:

Workforce demographics

Like all universities, UC has both academic and nonacademic employees. The academic employees (teaching faculty, researchers, librarians, academic administrators, etc.) constitute about 30 percent of UC’s workforce; nonacademic employees (staff) constitute the remaining share of the workforce. This chapter describes UC’s nonacademic workforce in demographic terms: size and structure, age distribution and compensation relative to market levels.

As of fall 2014, UC employed 140,000 nonacademic staff (or 103,000 FTE) across a wide range of occupational categories, including doctors, nurses and other health care staff; research administration and laboratory staff; student services staff; food and auxiliary services staff; maintenance and physical plant staff; and management and clerical staff.

Funding sources and the structure and composition of the staff workforce have changed significantly over the past decade. Hospital and health science funds, for example, contribute an increasingly large proportion of staff salaries, while general funds, which consist primarily of funds from the state of California together with student fees and tuition, constitute a shrinking proportion. Growth in staff personnel has been driven primarily by expansion in teaching hospitals, with additional staff growth due to increases in research activity and auxiliary enterprises, such as residence halls and food service. Consistent with an increase in UC’s complexity and the dramatic proliferation of technology, the proportion of highly skilled professional staff also has increased — a shift that aligns with national trends.

Workforce strategies related to staff

In 2015, UCOP Human Resources updated the Human Resources Strategic Plan from 2010. Directed at staff, the plan focuses on employee relations, labor relations, compensation and benefits. The University is striving to construct programs that provide value and engage its employees. In the systemwide staff engagement survey, employees cited competitive compensation as a key concern. Recognizing that quality personnel are essential for maintaining excellence, one of the University’s foremost concerns has been to achieve market-competitive total compensation for its employees. The goal of offering competitive compensation was adopted by the Regents in 2005 as part of a ten-year plan to bring compensation and benefits to market levels (minutes/2005/fin905.pdf). Although the University was able to fund staff salary increases in fiscal years 2005 to 2007 and in 2011, 2013 and 2014, implementation of the Regents’ broader plan to achieve market-comparable pay for staff was delayed by the 2007–09 recession and the state fiscal crisis in 2012. UC is currently emphasizing talent management, focusing on staff hiring, development, deployment and retention. The staff turnover rate, 8.5 percent in 2013–14, was the lowest in the past eight years but remains considerably higher than general industry.

Looking forward — staff renewal challenges

Inconsistencies in delivering an annual salary program have put pressures on UC’s competitive position in various employment markets. While in recent years the frequency of annual increase programs has improved, UC is still experiencing the effects of past years when an increase program could not be funded. With more than one-third of UC staff age 50 or older, UC will likely face talent management challenges from its multi-generational workforce and increased turnover rates due to an impending retirement bubble and a continuing economic recovery that may provide alternative opportunities for staff.

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Staff growth has been greatest in UC Health, encompassing the teaching hospitals and health science education programs. Since 2007, UC Health has seen staffing increase by nearly 14 percent. In contrast, general campus staff levels (excluding student employees) grew by only 6 percent. This is less than half of the 15 percent increase in general campus student enrollment over this same period.

6.1.1      Staff FTE (full-time-equivalent) workforce growth over time, Universitywide, Fall 2007 and 2014


Source: UC Corporate Personnel System

* In 2010, certain academic administrators (mostly deans) were moved from the SMG category to the Academic category in recognition that their primary role is academic. Eighty-one Senior Management FTE are excluded from the Oct ’07 General Campus nonstudent staff figure to provide accurate comparisons between 2007 and 2014. All staff measures in this chapter exclude Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Hastings School of Law and Associated Students UCLA.

UC operates five teaching hospitals as well as schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing and other health sciences education and research programs. Together these UC Health hospitals and academic programs have experienced proportionally greater growth in staffing since 2007 than the remaining components of UC (including the Office of the President), which are considered “General Campus.” Teaching hospitals and other health sciences programs accounted for more than half of the nonacademic staff increase between 2007 and 2014 (6,222 FTE); this growth is largely related to increased demand for medical care. General Campus nonstudent staff accounted for less than one-fourth of the growth (2,493 FTE), and student employees accounted for about one-fifth of staff growth (1,873 FTE); this growth in student employees is largely related to the additional 31,000 students UC has enrolled on the general campuses over this period.

About half of the student employees in staff positions are work-study students who work on-campus as part of their financial aid package. The growth in Senior Professional staff is a reflection of the professionalization of UC’s workforce, similar to changes seen in the wider labor market over the past seven years. This has resulted in growth of more analytical and technical jobs and a reduction in the clerical workforce. The other area with significant growth is professional support staff, which includes such diverse occupations as nurses, computer analysts and technicians, administrative and financial analysts, clerical assistants, groundskeepers, food service workers and many others.

Since 2007, the number of staff supported by general funds has fallen as state funding for the University has decreased. At the same time, the number of staff funded by hospital and health science sources has increased.

6.1.2      Nonstudent staff FTE (full-time-equivalent) workforce, by fund source, General campus and UC Health, Fall 2007 and 2014


Source: UC Corporate Personnel System. Not shown are general campus staff who are also students (6,209 FTE in 2014).

Between October 2007 and 2014, staff growth was concentrated among teaching hospital employees, due to increasing demand for health care, most notably growth in Medi-Cal and other government programs. These employees are primarily supported by hospital and health science funds.

Most of the increase in campus employees is attributable to growth in numbers of staff supported by noncore funds, such as health science funds, research funds, federal support, auxiliaries and other sources.

Over the past 11 years, changing technology has led to a need for more staff with higher-level skills and fewer staff with lower-level skills. 

6.1.3      Nonstudent staff FTE, by occupation group, Universitywide, Fall 2007 and 2014


Source: UC Corporate Personnel System. 

Not shown are general campus staff members who are also students (6,209 FTE in 2014). Eighty-one and 9 Senior Management FTE are excluded from the Oct ’07 General Campus and UC Health nonstudent staff figures, respectively, to provide consistent comparison between 2007 and 2014.

Technological advances have had a marked effect on staffing needs as computers increasingly perform tasks once requiring significant time and manual effort. Technology also has created a need for more staff with higher-level skills, such as information technology expertise and fiscal management experience. This is reflected above in the decline of clerical staff FTE and the growth of administrative analysis FTE.

In the past seven years, student enrollment has also grown, with a corresponding increase in staff supporting student services. The number of health care employees has grown faster than any other group. Health care staff in the medical centers are funded from patient services revenues.

Overall, the average age of the UC staff career workforce was higher in 2014 than in 1998. In 1998, 26 percent of career staff were age 50 or older; in 2014, 35 percent of career staff were age 50 or older.

6.2.1      Age distribution of career staff, Headcount, Universitywide, Fall 1998 and 2014


Source: UC Corporate Personnel System

Since 1998, the age distribution of UC’s staff has shifted; previously, most career staff were between 40 and 49 years of age; by 2014 the number of staff in the 30 to 39 and the 50 to 59 year ranges had surpassed those in the middle. At the same time, the number of staff 60 and older has increased considerably. Questions of the preservation and transmittal of institutional memory and of succession planning have become more important in the current environment.

The Senior Management Group (SMG) and the Managers and Senior Professionals (MSP) group have higher average ages because positions in these personnel programs generally require more experience and entail a higher level of responsibility. The Professional and Support Staff (PSS) group contains a lower proportion of senior staff personnel. Within the PSS group, there is no significant difference in age distribution between union-represented and nonrepresented staff. 

6.2.2      Age distribution of career staff, by personnel program, Headcount, Universitywide, Fall 2014


Source: UC Corporate Personnel System


While many staff members are nearing retirement eligibility, less than 5 percent of staff have the combination of age and years of service to qualify for the maximum retirement benefit factors.

6.2.3      UC retirement program active career staff headcount, by age and years of service (YOS), Universitywide (excludes Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), Fall 2014 


UC Retirement Plan benefits are designed so that highest benefits commence at age 60. Actual benefits depend on total years of service and highest average compensation. To be eligible for the maximum UC contribution for retiree health benefits, a retiring employee must have 20 years of service.

UC monitors the number and proportion of staff nearing or at retirement age because replacing experienced staff is a critical component of managing staff resources. About 2 percent of PSS staff and almost 5 percent of management staff are age 60 or above with 20 or more years of service. This is somewhat higher than the ratios of nine years ago.

The proportion of staff who are eligible to retire but with less than the maximum age factor and/or eligibility for UC retiree health benefit contribution has grown slightly since 2004.

Growth rates for staff salaries are below market rates in the Western region benchmark.

6.3.1      UC base salary increases compared with inflation and market averages, Universitywide, 2000–01 to 2013–14


Source: UC Human Resources1

The growth rate of staff salaries at UC is below the “Western U.S. Region” benchmark set by the “WorldatWork Salary Budget Survey” conducted by the WorldatWork Human Resources Association. The gap has grown wider over time.

In recent years, staff salary increases have not grown as fast as market salaries. Going forward, UC employees will be contributing more to health care costs and to the UC retirement system, which could further erode the competitiveness of UC compensation compared with the regional labor market.

The chart above presents comparative data for cash compensation only.

Excludes medical centers. Nonrepresented staff only.