Women outnumber men in Iowa’s state government, but earned a lower median salary last year.
The new state salary database, released Thursday, includes nearly 60,000 employees with a combined payroll of $3.02 billion for the year that ended June 30.
The state employed 32,788 women last year with a median salary of $45,675, compared to 27,139 men with a median salary of $50,306.
Female state employees earned 91 percent of their male peers in Iowa, which is better than several national studies showing women across public and private sectors earning, on average, 82 percent of their male peers.
“In the public sector, the wage gap is better than in the economy as a whole,” said Ariane Hegewisch, study director for the Institution for Women’s Policy Research in Washington, D.C. “The pay scales and processes for awarding raises are more transparent.”
The salary database, compiled by Iowa’s Department of Administrative Services, includes employees in all branches of government. Employees at Iowa’s public universities and the schools for the deaf and the blind make up two-thirds of the list. Student workers are also included.
Coaches and doctors are always the top earners, with many of the largest salaries being paid in part with private money.
University of Iowa Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz was paid $3.725 million for the year that ended June 30, which is seven times the $492,000 salary of his boss, UI President Sally Mason. Ferentz takes home 27 times Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s $135,000 salary and 80 times the $47,450 median salary of nearly 60,000 state employees.
After Ferentz, Iowa State University head football coach Paul Rhoads was paid $1.425 million last year. ISU head men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg was paid $908,532, jumping over UI men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery, who was paid $872,169 and had been ranked No. 3 the previous year.
Former UI men’s basketball coach Todd Lickliter made the top 10 salary list for the last time with $858,334. Lickliter was fired in March 2010, but the UI has been paying off his contract for the past three years. The final payment was in June 2012.
The highest-paid female state employee is UI Head Women’s Basketball Coach Lisa Bluder, who comes in at 21 with $568,000. The next highest is Marta VanBeek, an associate UI dermatology professor, who is ranked 28th in pay with $527,123.
The first non-university employee in the database – ranking 163 – is Som Lerd, a physician supervisor for the Department of Human Services. She was paid $323,268.
There may be some improvement in the gender pay gap.
When the Gazette reported on the state salary book in 2009, women among the 500 highest-paid state employees earned just 60 percent of their male peers. This year, women in the top 500 were paid 93 percent of their male peers.
Women still make up just one-fifth of the top 500 highest-paid state employees.
Two UI ophthalmologists, Dr. James Folk and Dr. Arlan Johnson, jumped into the top 20 for fiscal 2012 with total compensation of $605,443 and $641,017 respectively.
It appears Johnson’s salary nearly doubled and Folk’s increased by 33 percent from fiscal 2011, but UI Spokesman Tom Moore said the differences resulted because of a policy change that required performance bonuses to be paid in the year in which they were earned. This meant Folk and Johnson got double bonuses in Fiscal 2012.
“This is simply a timing issue related to when the incentive payments were paid, not when they were earned,” Moore said. “We would expect that FY 2013 cumulative compensation to be reasonably similar to that in prior years.”
UI physicians may qualify for performance pay based on the number of patients they treat, Moore said.