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February 20, 2014

FY13 report shows full-time staff numbers lowest at Pitt in 6 years

Pitt’s full-time staff fell to its lowest level in six years in fiscal year 2013, dropping to 6,699, according to University data provided in an annual report to the state.

Full-time staff employment fell by 339 for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013, a decrease of 4.82 percent from 7,038 in FY12. The figure is the lowest since FY08, when Pitt reported 6,616 full-time staff.

Pitt reported its staffing numbers as part of its annual information disclosure to the state. Under Pennsylvania’s public school code, as a condition of appropriation funding, state-related Pitt, Penn State, Lincoln and Temple universities must show how they spend unrestricted (general fund) and auxiliary fund dollars.

In addition to employment and salary data, the state-related schools must disclose vendor contracts of $1,000 or more, revenue and expense information and statements of retirement and tuition benefit policies. The data are compiled in a report published each February by the Joint State Government Commission (JSGC). The information disclosure reports are posted at

Decreases by job category

Numbers fell in all four staff classifications, but full-time staff in the clerical/secretarial category showed the largest decrease, dropping by 99 to 528, a loss of nearly 16 percent from FY12.

The average salary in that staff classification in FY13 was $27,322, up 0.67 percent from the prior year’s average of $27,141.

Pitt’s full-time executive/administrative/managerial staff fell by 19 to 601 in FY13, a loss of 3 percent.

The average salary in that staff classification was $108,382, up 3.3 percent from $104,914.

Full-time staff in the professional non-faculty classification fell by 187 to 4,362, a decrease of 4.11 percent. FY13 salaries in that classification averaged $46,820, up 2.1 percent from the prior year’s $45,857.

And full-time staff in the technical, skilled, service and other classification fell by 34 to 1,208, a decrease of 2.74 percent. Average salaries for the classification were $35,080, up 2.71 percent from $34,153 in FY12.

Decreases by unit

By unit, full-time staff reductions ranged from 8.66 percent in the schools of the health sciences to 1.88 percent in the executive vice chancellor’s area.

The Chancellor’s area, which includes Athletics, the Chief Financial Officer, General Counsel, Secretary of the Board of Trustees and Institutional Advancement, shed 30 full-time staff, falling from 767 in FY12 to 737 in FY13, a decrease of 3.9 percent.

The Executive Vice Chancellor’s area, which includes Human Resources, Business Operations and Facilities Management, lost 18 full-time staff, dropping to 938, a decrease of 1.88 percent.

Full time staff in the provost’s area fell by 134 full-time employees to 2,151, a decrease of 5.86 percent. The area encompasses non-Health Sciences academic areas, Pitt’s regional campuses, Computing Services and Systems Development, libraries, Student Affairs, University Center for International Studies, University Center for Social and Urban Research and the University Honors College.

The Senior Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences’ area lost 75 full-time staff, dropping 8.66 percent to 791. The area includes the Graduate School of Public Health and the schools of dental medicine, health and rehabilitation sciences, nursing and pharmacy.

There were 82 fewer full-time staff in the School of Medicine (SOM) division, which includes the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute in addition to the School of Medicine and SOM division administration. There, full-time staff numbers fell 3.79 percent to 2,082.

VERP’s role

While 352 longtime classified staff left the University at the end of FY12 through the voluntary early retirement program for staff (VERP), Ronald Frisch, associate vice chancellor for Human Resources, said the VERP wasn’t the sole factor in the lower number. Other factors — the number of research projects and reorganization of positions within the University, for instance — also have an effect on staff statistics, which are a constantly moving target, he said.

While the VERP was a positive for those able to retire, Pitt’s remaining staff continue to feel the program’s effects. “There is a reduction,” said Staff Association Council President Rich Colwell, who works in the Swanson School of Engineering. Colwell said he has seen staff reductions in his own area, and has received comments from staff across the University who are feeling the strain of VERP-related reductions. “I’m still hearing people saying VERP affected them to the point where they’re doing two to three people’s jobs,” with no corresponding increase in pay, he said.

“They’re doing more with less. A lot less. And it’s not fun.”

The perennial issue of salary compression also continues to be problematic, he said. “We keep raising concerns that midpoint for long-term staff is not reachable,” he said. “The concern for long-term staff to get a reasonable salary has been there as long as I’ve been at SAC, and I’ve been at SAC 28 years,” he said.

Frisch told the University Times that schools’ and departments’ responses to VERP departures varied. “Departments did different things” with their share of VERP savings, including one-to-one replacements, hiring additional staff, distributing funds to existing staff or doing nothing.

University officials previously reported that the VERP initially saved an estimated $22.8 million. Pitt budgeted 30 percent of the savings to replace departed staff, yielding a net savings of about $16 million. (See Jan. 24, 2013, University Times.)


Frisch said the sharp decline in the full-time clerical/secretarial staff number reflects that fewer jobs fall into that classification. The classification encompasses Pitt’s administrative support I, II and III and secretary II and III positions.

“Positions are evolving,” he said. “Roles are different than they used to be.”

While clerical/secretarial positions aren’t likely to disappear entirely, jobs that encompass those skills have evolved into larger roles that increasingly fall into other categories, such as the executive/administrative/managerial category, Frisch said.

“It’s a trend as far as the professional workforce,” he said. “The classifications eventually are catching up.”

Five-year trends

Pitt full-time staff totals have declined by 0.8 percent since FY09. During that period, clerical/secretarial staff positions have declined by nearly 26.5 percent, while the executive/administrative/managerial and other professional non-faculty classifications are up by about 3 percent. Positions classified as technical, skilled, service and other have held steady, declining 0.33 percent.

Looking ahead

Frisch told the University Times that Pitt has hired some 700 full- and part-time staff in the current fiscal year, which began last July 1. That number includes jobs filled by internal transfers as well as by external hires, he said.

Full-time faculty figures

Pitt reported 5,391 full-time faculty members in FY13, down from 5,397 in FY12. (See Feb. 21, 2013, University Times.) Among them were 987 full professors (up from 971 in FY12); 1,083 associate professors (up from 1,062); 1,786 assistant professors (up from 1,761); 272 instructors (down from 294), and 1,263 other faculty members (down from 1,309).

The FY13 report indicated salaries for full professors averaged $124,723 (up from $124,460 in FY12); associate professors averaged $82,737 (up from $81,855); assistant professors averaged $61,924 (up from $61,720); instructors averaged $47,180 (up from $46,294), and other faculty averaged $38,555 (up from $38,100).

Top contractors

Pitt reported $302.89 million worth of contracts of $1,000 or more in FY13. Seventeen vendors had contracts of $2 million or more, totaling $129.49 million, or 42.8 percent of the total reported.

For the second consecutive year, dining and catering service provider Sodexo topped the list of the University’s largest contractors. Its FY13 contract was $30.16 million.

The remaining $2 million-plus vendors were: Duquesne Light,  $25.33 million; Bellefield Boiler Plant, $12.33 million; BPA II LTD, $9.5 million; Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority,  $7.77 million; Dominion Retail, $5.7 million; Port Authority Transit of Allegheny County, $5.63 million; EBSCO Subscription Service, $5.62 million; UPMC, $4.83 million; Fisher Scientific, $4.16 million; Lenzner Coach Lines, $3.51 million; US Security Associates, $3.41 million; Marsh USA, $2.63 million; Dell Marketing, $2.45 million; Office Depot, $2.21 million; Grubb & Ellis Management Services, $2.17 million, and Oracle America, $2.07 million.

Fifteen of the 17 also were in the $2 million-plus category in FY12. Oracle and Office Depot rose to the top vendor tier in FY13. Four contractors — Franklin Interiors, University of Pittsburgh Physicians, Lighthouse Electric and UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, which were among 19 $2 million-plus vendors in FY12 — fell below $2 million in FY13.

Pitt listed 43 vendors with contracts of $750,000-$2 million, totaling $52.5 million or 17.3 percent of the contracts reported.

Vendor contracts of less than $750,000 totaled $120.9 million, 39.9 percent of the total Pitt reported.

In-state vendors received nearly $110.84 million, or 36.6 percent of the $302.89 million total; $192.06 million, or 63.4 percent, went to vendors outside of Pennsylvania.

By expenditure type, contracts for professional services made up the largest category with nearly $86.62 million or 28.6 percent of the total; supplies and equipment accounted for nearly $58.79 million or 19.4 percent, and utilities totaled nearly $50.32 million or 16.6 percent.

The current report to the state notes that no revenue and expenditure data from auxiliary enterprises are included for FY13 because all four state-related universities said that auxiliary enterprises are not funded by tuition or appropriation dollars and thus are not required to be submitted as part of the disclosure.

—Kimberly K. Barlow