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Taking a Look at the Challenges of Increasing Faculty Retirements

August 2013

By Jessica Brown, Senior Manager, Knowledge Services, AACSB International

Even schools with great successful faculty will eventually face the challenges of demographic change as seasoned faculty members choose to retire after years of service to their schools and students. In what can already be a difficult market at times, increasing retirements add yet one more consideration for administrators who are planning their school's long-term strategies for faculty recruitment and retention, dealing with a changing and diverse student body, and supporting the needs of a modern business and management environment.

Maintaining a high level of research and teaching when valued faculty members retire can be a difficult process as some schools may face stiff competition for the same set of applicants in fields where the expected retirements are particularly high. On the other side of the equation, knowing the expected retirements in a given discipline can be a boon for prospective future faculty who are trying to plan a successful and feasible career path.

As part of the annual AACSB Global Salary Survey, schools are asked to provide information on the doctoral faculty demand at their schools, including the anticipated retirements. This data is reviewed below for a controlled set of schools that participated in the Global Salary Survey in all years from 2008–2009 to 2012–2013.

Figure 1. Percent of Full-Time Faculty Anticipating Retirement with Five Years by Academic Discipline

The graph below compares the percent of full-time faculty reported as anticipating retirement within five years as of 2008–2009 with those anticipating retirement within five years of 2012–2013. For the first example, the following disciplines reported a smaller portion of their overall faculty anticipating retirement within five years as of 2012–2013.

Percentage is lower in 2012–2013 than 2008–2009.

Figure 2. Percent of Full-Time Faculty Reported as Anticipating Retirement within Five Years as of 2008–2009

The graph below compares the percent of full-time faculty reported as anticipating retirement within five years as of 2008–2009 with those anticipating retirement within five years of 2012–2013. For the first example, the following disciplines reported a larger portion of their overall faculty anticipating retirement within five years as of 2012–2013.

Percentage is equal or higher in 2012–2013 than 2008–2009.

The table below compares the percent of full-time faculty reported as anticipating retirement within five years as of 2008–2009 with those anticipating retirement within five years of 2012–2013. For the first example, the following disciplines reported a larger portion of their overall faculty anticipating retirement within five years as of 2012–2013.

As a reference for the above percentages, the counts of full-time faculty reported per discipline on the doctoral faculty demand section are shown below. The percents used in the charts above are based on the number of anticipated retirements reported as a percent of the total number of full-time faculty positions filled at the schools within specific fields/disciplines.

Table 1. Counts of Full-Time (FT) Faculty Positions Filled in 2008–2009 and 2012–2013 as Reported in the Doctoral Faculty Demand Section of the Global Salary Survey

2008–2009 2012–2013
Field/Discipline Schools FT Faculty
Positions Filled
Schools FT Faculty
Positions Filled
Accounting 369 3,547 374 3,758
Behavioral Science 187 648 175 723
Business Communication 140 304 140 324
Business Education 68 49 57 35
Business Ethics 94 88 97 116
Business Law 269 635 253 612
CIS/MIS 327 2,010 323 1,857
eBusiness 58 21 55 31
Economics 278 2,072 284 2,113
Finance 363 2,764 377 3,044
General Business 83 78 77 101
HR Management 186 472 186 476
Health/Hospitality 75 56 65 72
Hotel/Restaurant 74 122 74 140
Insurance 91 90 81 104
International Business 146 220 139 267
Logistics 119 260 122 316
Management 295 1,934 308 2,142
Marketing 364 2,808 372 2,937
Operations Management 246 774 243 827
Operations Research 78 110 72 135
Public Administration 62 70 53 77
Quant Methods 140 287 132 278
Real Estate 105 127 93 130
Small Business 178 307 195 451
Statistics 125 232 113 228
Strategic Management 218 663 212 717
Taxation 110 134 106 140
All Others 75 144 82 179
Total 372 21,026 381 22,330