While they enjoy the work itself, adjunct faculty have concerns about salary, job security and retirement readiness.
Half of today’s higher education faculty are employed part time on a nontenure track—i.e., "adjuncts." The rest are full-time nontenure track (20%) and tenured or tenure track (30%). This report examines adjuncts’ views and experiences concerning their jobs, careers and retirement readiness.
- Forty-one percent of adjuncts are very satisfied with their academic career; by comparison, 69% of tenured and tenure-track faculty feel this way.
- Ninety percent say they enjoy teaching and interacting with students, and 28% feel strongly that nothing outside academia would provide the same sense of fulfillment.
- Half view their level of debt as problematic; 13% consider it a major problem.
- When asked "what keeps you from being very satisfied" with your career, the top reasons given are level of pay (cited by 25%), not having a full-time position (23%), not having a tenure-track position (22%) and lack of job security (14%).
- Only 19% are very confident they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement. This is slightly higher than that of all U.S. workers (18%), but notably lower than that of tenured and tenure-track faculty (31%).