UC Management Bloat – updated

UC’s Management Continues its Super-Sized Growth

by Charles Schwartz, UC Berkeley


It has been two years since my last presentation of data on the bloated growth of management at the University of California, covering the span 1991-2010. (See the post here in March 2011.)

The following graph includes the newest official data: up to October 2012.


This shows the continuing outsized growth of the management cadre (defined as the employees classified in Senior Management Group and Management & Senior Professionals): their numbers grew by 252% over the 21 year period while total employee numbers grew by a mere 51%. (The total number of employees shown in this graph is scaled down so that one can compare the relative growth, over time, of each population.)

For another comparison, the latest total number in this management category (SMG + MSP) is 9,457 FTE (full time equivalent employees) while the number of Regular Teaching Faculty is 8,657 FTE.

Similar graphs for each individual campus of the university system can be found here (.doc) or here (.pdf).  For several campuses we note a mild decrease in the Management numbers in the past few years but then a new upward surge with the latest data.

Elsewhere I have written about the repeated requests for UC’s top officials to either justify this apparent bloat or to get rid of it; and their inability to do either.  My previous estimate was that, if the apparent excess is not justifiable, then UC is wasting something like $1 Billion per year.

The Governor has recently shown some interest in the University and its financial problems. He has called for lowering costs, avoiding further tuition increases and reducing executive salaries. Many people have criticized the Board of Regents for setting corporate scale salaries for the top executives they appoint at UC; and fixing that bad habit would be good for the soul of this public institution. In defense, the UC President and his minions often point out that the total amount of money paid to the Senior Management Group is rather small. So, a better line of attack would be to hold them accountable for this whole mass of bureaucratic excess which they have created.



  1. Anonymous said,

    January 30, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

    What kind of jobs are included in “Senior Management Group and Management & Senior Professionals”

    In particular, are we seeing “title creep” where people who were earlier classified as secretaries are now classified as managing secretaries or something, while their actual duties remain basically the same? This could be understood as a way to give employees well-deserved and modest raises in the context of a system that makes that essentially impossible.

    Or are we seeing new self-feeding bureaucracies emerging that are checking each other for “compliance” and each requires a real managerial overhead?

    Or are we seeing new productive core-friendly functions being added to the university that is forced to add soft-money staff because of the impossibility of growing the faculty ranks so that faculty could supervise as a part of their service duties to campus?

    Our responses to each of these would presumably be quite different.

  2. Charlie Schwartz said,

    January 30, 2013 @ 5:13 pm

    I do not know about all the jobs under MSP but I can talk about one category that I was able to identify in an earlier study: these are computer professionals. It seems easy to say that those jobs have understandably proliferated over the past 20 years. And so, I removed those jobs from the data set and looked at what remained. There was still lots and lots of growth in the reduced Management set – with many titles (“Manager” was probably the most common job title I saw) and no explanation of why they had so proliferated.

    Others have offered the idea of “reclassification” (title creep) as something that might explain this data. This may be a part of the story but I doubt that it can explain it all away. My reason for that belief lies in the repeated failure of top UC executives to offer that explanation (or any plausible explanation) when I have pushed this data under their noses.

    My best guess is that it is real, organic, bureaucratic self-generation (organizational cancer). And the people at the top of UC are not willing to admit that — because they are responsible for letting it happen.

  3. mk said,

    February 2, 2013 @ 10:48 pm

    wow! just wow! I guess the story is similar across all research universities…

  4. Charlie Schwartz said,

    February 3, 2013 @ 10:02 am

    I am not sure about that, since I have not seen similar data for other research universities. It would be good if people at other research universities could ferret out such data.

    However, I did look briefly at the California State University System (mostly undergraduate programs and some master’s degree programs; but not primarily a research university) and I did not find evidence of large management staffs there.

  5. anonymous said,

    February 5, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

    for the Davis campus here is a link to all the MSP titles:
    You can see its a strange assortment (Why does UC need a Enterostdomal Therapist, whatever that is?)
    I think you could find similar info as a URL on each campus. Note that a lot of the MSP titles aren’t actually managers. It includes programmers, engineers, dentists, etc, etc.
    Also, I have heard that physicians at the Med Schools are given dual titles as MSPs so they can be paid more…you might want to look into that also.

  6. Charlie Schwartz said,

    February 5, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

    I believe that the MSP population is about equally split between “Senior Professionals” and “Managers”.

    In an earlier study I also found that the apparent bloat of Management was about equally present in the Health Sciences sector and in the General Campuses.

    It appears that the disease is everywhere; so, all the more reason we should insist that UC’s top executives either justify this mess or clean it up.


  7. anonymous said,

    February 5, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

    see if UC won’t respond to a request as to how many people are in each MSP title code.
    Believe me, that’s a report they can run.
    That way you can see if the number of managers is growing or if the growth is driven by programmers, dentists, accountants etc.
    At the moment you can’t tell if the number of managers is going up or not – only a fraction of the titles listed actually involve supervision/management.
    Although its certainly fun to denounce management bloat I don’t think you have proven the point until you get the real numbers by title code.

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  9. admin said,

    February 6, 2013 @ 10:42 pm

    My earlier study, posted at http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~schwrtz/Part_13.html, did show what you ask about: after the computer programmers were removed from the large data set, the rest (mostly called “managers”) showed great growth over the years.

  10. gasstationwithoutpumps said,

    February 25, 2013 @ 5:58 am

    The comparison of growth by normalizing to number of managers in 1991 is good for a systemwide growth figure, but separate normalization by each campus doesn’t make much sense, because the baselines are so different. Each campus got infected with management cancer at different times.

    It would be better to show the management/total ratio as a function of time. I suspect that we would see the highly compensated campuses (UCLA and UCB) leading the management bloat by several years. That is where the extra money those campuses get is primarily going, I suspect.

  11. Charlie Schwartz said,

    February 25, 2013 @ 11:38 am


    Interesting idea. I have just sent you my excel file with all the data for each campus and each year. I hope you will analyse this as you see fit and let us know what you learn.

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