Financing the University -- Part 24

Charles Schwartz, Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley,  schwartz@physics.berkeley.edu
posted at   http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~schwrtz   March 29, 2016

 Management Bloat at UC - How Big is it?  Where is it? Why is it?

      Previous studies are extended to show a 24-year history of runaway growth in Management personnel throughout the University of California. The newest data also let us detail the location of those supervisory positions on each campus and within each budget category.

      In Section I, "The Data", we first look at the summary data that shows a 308% growth in Management personnel while total  employment grew by only 62%. Then, more detailed data show that broad classification of Management positions broken down into major sub-categories - Executives, Senior Professionals, and "Middle Management" - as well as separated into the Health Sciences and the General Campus sectors of the University. Finally, we can look at individual campuses and locate the employment statistics according to the Functional categories - Instruction, Research, Student Services, Institutional Support, etc. - that provide the budget for those positions. This lets us see where responsibility for the apparent excess of Management may be laid: 19% at the Faculty in the academic Departments,  14% at the Deans of the Schools and Colleges, and 67% at the upper Administrators on the campuses.

      In Section II, "Past Questions and Answers", we note previous attempts to get the systemwide administrators of the University to pay  attention to this data and to explain why this apparent bloat is not a huge waste of resources - estimated as costing around $1 Billion per year. Their latest ploy is to redefine the issue in question as growth of "administration" rather than growth of "management"; and then they can gather data to show that there is no bloat at all.

      In Section III, "New Opportunities for Investigation", we suggest how this new data may be used constructively.

I.  The Data

The University of California has a total employment count of 150,592 FTE (Full-Time Equivalents, rounded off to a whole number) as of October 2015.  All those jobs are classified into three primary categories:
• 10,947 FTE Management,  SMG & MSP  (Senior Management Group & Management and Senior Professionals)
• 44,512 FTE Academic Staff (with 11 sub-categories, including 9,160 FTE Regular Teaching Faculty - Ladder Ranks)
• 95,133 FTE Professional and Support Staff, PSS (with 11 sub-categories)  
The UC Office of the President (UCOP) collects this data from all of the campuses and publishes a summary report semiannually on the web site http://legacy-its.ucop.edu/uwnews/stat/ . The following graph shows the 24 year history of two numbers taken from those reports: Management personnel and Total employees, with the latter scaled so that one can readily see the relative growth over this long time-span: while Total employment grew 62%, Management grew 308%; and, for comparison, total student enrollment grew 62%.


  

Similar graphs are available for each individual campus at  http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~schwrtz/CampusMNGT.pdf ; and it turns out that my own campus, Berkeley, is the worst with Management growth at 417% and Total growth at 29%.

These graphs, which I would describe as presenting a summary picture of management growth throughout the University, raise some troubling questions about what is going on here. On the face of it this suggests a runaway of Management bloat; and this is especially worrisome in the context of the ongoing fiscal trauma experienced by students and faculty and staff of UC. In previous papers I have delved somewhat deeper into the data and sought explanations from top administrative officials. (See Parts 12-14 of this series, "Financing the University.")

In this paper I will present the most detailed picture that has yet appeared. This comes from a new set of data files I have obtained from UCOP, their Corporate Personnel System, via request filed under the California Public Records Act. These are five Excel files, for October in the years 1996, 2001, 2006, 2010, 2014. These show jobs, for each campus and for the whole of UC, broken down from the 3 primary categories and the 2 dozen sub-categories into many more sub-sub-categories and even into distinct job titles. The data are further separated into jobs within  the Health Sciences sector and the General Campus sector. Going even further, the jobs are identified with the functional expense categories: Instruction, Research, Academic Support, Student Services, etc., so one can get a quantitative sense of "where" (organizationally) the jobs are  located. There are over 10,000 rows and 24 columns of data in the latest file.  In what follows I shall present a particular set of data summaries drawn from these files, with the intent of learning in more detail about the Management positions that the above graph shows in the aggregate.

Anyone who wishes to work with this data resource may download the 5 files here, 
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B3g4SxJ_dpM2TGZyR1lGY0lwYnc&usp=sharing 

First, we break down the overall Management class by identifying its sub-categories. There are Senior Professionals (with sub-sub-labels A, C, D, .. J); Executive Program, also called Senior Management Group, coded as M05; Managers, coded as M10; Coaches, coded as M20.  Tables 1, 2, and 3 show how those sub-categories have evolved over the years.

Table 1: Breakdown of "Management" for All of UC General Campuses (FTE)

1996
2001
2006
2010
2014
18-year
Growth
A-J Senior Professionals
660
1,073
1,465
1,948
2,461
+273%
M05 = SMG = Executives
253
263
233
141
128
   -49%
M10 = Managers
1,294
2,133
2,724
2,949
3,081
+138%
M20 = Coaches
15
16
97
77
125

   Total SMG & MSP
2,222
3,485
4,519
5,115
5,795
+161%


Table 2: Breakdown of "Management" for All of UC Health Sciences (FTE)

1996
2001
2006
2010
2014
18-year
Growth
A-J Senior Professionals
604
929
1,541
1,788
2,137
+254%
M05 = SMG = Executives
74
66
63
60
43
   -42%
M10 = Managers
477
826
1,242
1,595
2,350
+393%
   Total SMG & MSP
1,155
1,821
2,846
3,443
4,530
+292%

Notes: GC+HS Totals = 10,325 for October 2014; earlier I quoted SMG&MSP Total = 10,947 for Oct. 2015.
The overall Growth shown in these tables is noticeably less than the 308% Growth in Management shown in the first graph; but that graph covers a larger time-span. Before 1996 there was a somewhat different scheme used for classifying employees, so these new detailed data files do not go before that year.
"Health Sciences" covers the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, Optometry, Public Health and their associated hospitals, clinics, and institutes. "General Campuses" covers all the rest of the University system.

Table 3: Breakdown of "Management" for UC Berkeley (FTE)

1996
2001
2006
2010
2014
18-year
Growth
A-J Senior Professionals
125
243
295
503
666
+433%
M05 = SMG = Executives
33
34
32
14
11
   -67%
M10 = Managers
162
303
442
507
536
+231%
M20 = Coaches
2
4
87
29
26

   Total SMG & MSP
322
584
856
1,053
1,239
+285%

What do we want to dig deeper into and what do we want to put aside for now?  The Senior Management Group-M05 (President and Vice Presidents, Chancellors and Vice Chancellors, some Deans) is often discussed in the context of "Are top UC Executives overpaid?"; but that is not our main concern here and I shall put those (relatively small) numbers aside. The Coaches-M20 are again the subject of some people's special concern, but not here. The Senior Professionals comprise almost half of all Management and show  very rapid growth, but I also want to put them aside, mainly because the rapid rise in the use of computer technologies might explain much of the growth in those positions: the SP sub-category F15, Computer Programming and Analysis, comprises 43% of all the Senior Professionals FTE in the General Campus sector of UC.

The main target of this investigation will be the M10 subgroup, identified as "Managers", and I would characterize those positions as "Middle Management". Their 18-year Growth is seen to be +207% for all of UC (+138% for General Campuses and+393% for Health Sciences) and +231% at UC Berkeley.

Now we come to the exciting new data in these Excel files: Employment counts detailed according to the Functional category of their compensation. Table 4 shows the Location of M10  FTE by Function (Instruction, Research, etc.) and by Campus (Berkeley, Davis, etc.) This is only for the General Campus sector.

Table 4. Location of Managers (M10) by Function and by Campus (FTE) - General Campuses only - October 2014
Function \ Campus
Total
Bk 
Dv 
Ir   
LA
Mc 
Rv  
SD
SB
SC
OP+
Instruction
301
101
20
41
75
0
16
18
20
3
8
Research
200
36
13
8
34
1
6
46
18
17
20
Public Service
94
31
7
5
18
2
3
7
3
2
17
Academic Support
375
52
21
99
74
16
13
41
22
21
16
AS-Libraries
54
10
6
3
12
2
0
8
0
1
13
Student Services
320
93
23
44
43
21
19
24
26
21
7
Institutional Support
1,361
155
127
122
351
60
88
169
49
63
178
Operation & Maintenance
102
16
8
7
19
3
4
4
30
7
5
Auxiliary Enterprises
162
27
6
17
55
6
7
9
21
14
0
Other *
111
15
6
22
47
4
3
6
5
1
0
All Functions
3,081
536
237
368
728
115
159
332
194
150
262
* University Extension, Summer Session ...          OP+ = OP + ANR

Here is how I read this Table, looking at the distribution of Management positions. Instruction and Research and Public Service are the primary missions of the university and they are mostly under the direct control of the Faculty in the academic Departments and ORUs -- and this accounts for about 19% of the overall M10 staffing.  Academic Support is largely under the control of Deans - and this accounts for about 14%.  All the rest - accounting for about 2/3 of all the M10 positions - is under the direct control of various Vice Chancellors on each campus. The data in Table 1 show how the total number, 3,081, has grown over time. If you ask how this Functional distribution has changed over time, here are the overall percentages for October 1996: I + R + PS = 16%;   AS + L = 9%; SS + IS + OM + AE + Other = 75%.

In Table 5 is the analogous current data for the Health Sciences sector of UC.

Table 5. Location of Managers (M10) by Function and by Campus (FTE) - Health Sciences only - October 2014
Function \ Campus
Total
Bk 
Dv 
Ir   
LA
Rv  
SD
SF
Instruction
218
3
34
18
81
6
5
71
Research
178

26
6
74

24
48
Public Service
44

8

28


8
Academic Support
347

41
27
112
5
33
130
AS-Libraries
4






4
Student Services
13





2
11
Institutional Support
268






268
Operation & Maintenance
32






32
Auxiliary Enterprises
12





1
11
Teaching Hospitals
1,233

127
111
468

91
435
All Functions
2,350
3
236
162
763
12
157
1,017

Most all of the job descriptions seen in the files for this M10 sub-category are Manager ... or Director ... . What do those people do? What or whom do they manage? What or whom do they direct?  I cannot tell from this data. But I do know that all of these are Supervisory jobs.  So I ask, Whom do they supervise? I am certain that they do not supervise the work of Professors, and I am pretty sure that they do not supervise the work of other Academic Staff (Lecturers, Researchers, Librarians, Student Instructors and Researchers, ..). So they must supervise the work of non-academic staff, the PSS category.  I don't know what is the optimum ratio of supervisors to supervisees in the staff of a research university. Table 6 shows our current situation.

Table 6. Ratio of Managers (M10) to all PSS Employees by Function - Total UC 2014
Function
PSS General
Campus FTE
GC Ratio
M10/PSS
 
PSS Health
Sciences FTE
HS Ratio
M10/PSS
Instruction
4,882
6.2%

5,766
3.8%
Research
4,271
4.7%

5,263
3.4%
Public Service
1,835
5.1%

1,172
3.8%
Ac Support
3,857
9.7%

5,141
6.7%
AS-Libraries
1,528
3.5%

25

Student Serv
5,736
5.6%

176

Inst Support
8,419
16.2%

1,231
21.8%
Op & Maint
3,529
2.9%

258

Auxiliary Ent
8,256
2.0%

230

Teaching Hosp
0


29,052
4.2%
All Functions
42,313
7.0%

48,314
4.9%

For the General Campus sector the largest ratios are seen to be in Institutional Support (under the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors) and then Academic Support (mostly under the Deans).

Ask again about the work of Supervisors. Non-supervisory staff, in the PSS category, are engaged in directly productive work as they assist faculty, researchers, and students in carrying out the fundamental missions of the University. Supervisors, by definition, are not engaged in that directly productive work; they are hired to "manage" the productive workers.  Some of that is, of course, necessary; but how much is enough?

In Tables 7 and 8 is information on some cost measures for the Management class.  The latest Annual Financial Report for the UC Retirement Plan provides the following data on page 4.

Table 7. UCRP Active Plan Membership (Current Employees)
Employee Category
Number of Employees
Average Annual Salary
Senate Faculty
12,600 *
$131,918
Non-Faculty Academics
11,778 *
$  83,421
Management/Senior Professionals
10,625
$134,883
Professional/Support Staff
88,765
$  71,471
Total
123,768

* The published report shows only the combined membership of these two groups at 24,378;
the number of active Senate Faculty was obtained from the Academic Senate office.

Table 8. UCRP Inactive Plan Membership (Retired, former Employees)
Employee Category
Number of Retirees   
Average Annual UCRP
Income
Faculty *
  6,145
$80,901
Management/Senior Professionals  
  9,235
$57,830
Professional/Support Staff
42,201
$37,166
Total
57,581

* I do not know how this group is defined.

II. Past Questions and Answers 

I have been looking at this sort of data on Management growth at UC since 2003, and a blog posted August 19, 2013 (at  http://UniversityProbe.org ) summarizes my past findings and failed attempts to get responsible UC officials to provide plausible explanations for this apparent bloat.

In recent years there has been a related discussion included in the University's annual Budget for Current Operations. This comes at the end of the chapter on Institutional Support, with the subtitle, "Growth in Non-Academic Personnel".  They start out saying, 
The recent budget crisis has rekindled concerns that growth in administration is outpacing growth in student enrollments, and has come at the expense of growth in faculty and the University’s instructional program.
Then they report their findings,
Almost three-quarters of the 143,990 full-time equivalent (FTE) personnel at the University in 2013-14 were employed in non-academic personnel categories – Professional Support Staff (PSS), Managers and Senior Professionals (MSP), and the Senior Management Group (SMG). This proportion has been stable since 1997-98.
My focus has been on the Management class (SMG & MSP), which accounts for only 10% of all non-academic positions, but it appears that they contrive to bury that under the much larger PSS pool of employees; and then they can say that there has been no growth, relative to overall University growth, over these years.   Still, if you read all the way through that chapter, you will find this:
There has also been a modest shift in the distribution of employees from the PSS to the MSP category, with MSP titles growing from 3% to 6% of all FTE personnel and PSS titles experiencing a corresponding decline from 70% to 67%.
Did you catch that? MSP grew from 3% to 6% of all FTE.  That is a doubling over the period 1998-2014. That is fairly consistent with the data shown in my graph at the top of this paper.  But 3% is such a small number and 6% hardly much more, so who would get upset about this? Furthermore, they imply that this growth in MSP is just a shift of some people upward from PSS positions. This is a suggestion I have heard in the past from a few colleagues who have read my earlier papers: Sometimes you want to keep a very excellent staff member in your department and so you arrange for them to be "reclassified" (with a substantial increase in salary) from PSS to MSP.  This "reclassification" may explain some portion of the management bloat I have displayed, but I do not see this as a comprehensive answer.

In my previous studies I did notice that there was one sub-category of PSS positions that had shrunk significantly over the years: this is Code B, Clerical and Allied Services. However, there were some other sub-categories that grew noticeably. There was one particular sub-category of the PSS employees that showed the most rapid growth over the years: this is the group of positions titled, "Fiscal, Management and Staff Services", with the code label F. For all of UC, this group grew from  8,750 FTE in 1996 to  21,019 FTE  in 2015.   Here, in Table 9, is a further breakdown of those jobs in the General Campus sector.

Table 9. Breakdown of Code F positions in PSS, for All of UC  General Campuses (FTE)
Sub-Sub-Category
1996
2014
 18-year Growth
F10 + F15: Computer Operations, Programming, Analysis
1,979
3,139
+59%
F20:  Admin, Budget/Pers Analysis
3,063
7,557
+147%
F30 + F35: Management, Fiscal Services
  886
  922
  +4%
F40 + F45: Employment Services, Materiel Management
  111
  138
+24%
   Total Code F in PSS
6,039
11,756
+95%


That F20 group is of particular interest. It is large and has grown substantially. The functional distribution of those F20 positions is shown, in a condensed way, in Table 10.

Table 10. Distribution of F20 positions in PSS by Function, for All UC General Campuses
Functional Grouping
1996 
2014 
Instruction + Research + Public Service
30%
28%
Academic Support + Libraries
10%
13%
Student Services + Institutional Support + Op & Maint + ...
60%
59%

This distribution may be compared with that for the M10 positions, noted following Table 4; and we also see that this distribution has hardly changed over the years, although the total size of this group has increased by 147%, as noted in Table 9.   I think this F20 group of PSS positions is closely related to the M10 group of Management positions.

Following the method used in my earlier papers I estimate that, if the apparent excess growth in the M10 and F20 job positions cannot be justified, then that represents an unnecessary cost to the University of California of something like $1 Billion per year, about equally divided between the General Campus and the Health Sciences sectors.

III. New Opportunities for Investigation

Given the new data discussed above, especially now that one can "locate" the positions in question, we can suggest that some faculty members take the initiative in looking closely at the question of unnecessary layers of management in their own locales. This needs to be done thoughtfully, hopefully with the consent and cooperation of Departmental Chairs. Who are the "managers" and what do they "manage" and are there more efficient arrangements?

As a first step, one could ask for an organizational chart showing all the non-academic staff in the Department; identify which are paid by Instructional budgets and which are paid by Research budgets; in each group count up the number of Management FTE and compare that with the total number of PSS FTE; then look at the University-wide average for that ratio, which is shown in Table 6.

Of course, as noted earlier, the major portion of management positions is located within the domains of higher administrative officers - Deans and Vice Chancellors - on each campus. My own previous efforts to get the President or any Chancellor of UC to investigate this issue seriously have been complete failures. Perhaps, if leaders of the Academic Staff (Professors) can carry out this mission on their own turf, then that may create pressure on those top level authorities to do something similarly credible on their turf.