Research Motivation and Purpose. As the global competition for talent becomes increasingly fierce, competent authorities are now faced with the urgent need to select effective strategies for maximizing talent recruitment and retention. Although compensation level is not the only factor contributing to talent attraction, and a researcher’s income cannot fully reflect their academic value or social contributions, in today’s increasingly market-oriented higher education environment, salary increases are still regarded by many countries as a key policy instrument in the global competition for talent. Given that a number of well-known universities in the United States are listed in the World University Rankings and that Taiwan’s higher education and human resource management systems are mostly based on the American systems, this study analyzed the university faculty compensation system in the United States to glean possible insights for the Taiwanese system. Our findings can help Taiwanese universities and colleges improve the effectiveness of their strategies for talent recruitment and retention. Literature Review. The purpose of the literature review was to identify current trends and problems through the collation and analysis of relevant data and documents. The review was divided into four parts: 1. We conducted an analysis of global trends in university faculty compensation systems, which revealed that countries often use attractive salaries or performance-based faculty compensation systems as a means of attracting talent. 2. To evaluate the global competitiveness of Taiwan’s university faculty compensation, we compared university faculty compensation in Taiwan with that in 14 other countries/regions. Our findings indicated that the annual salaries of university faculty members in Taiwan were lower than those in the other countries/regions examined. More specifically, the salaries of newly-employed faculty members in Taiwan were only higher than those in Malaysia and China, whereas the salaries of senior faculty members and the average salary in Taiwan were lower than those in China and only higher than those in Malaysia. 3. We analyzed the differences in university faculty compensation in the United States and Taiwan with respect to university affiliation (public or private), university type (educational or research), university location, academic field of faculty members, gender of faculty members, and job performance of faculty members. 4. We analyzed official government documents to assess the problems that have arisen since the introduction of the performance-based university faculty compensation system by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education. Research Methods. Based on the collation and analysis of relevant documents and data in Taiwan and abroad, we summarized the characteristics of the university faculty compensation system in the United States and the problems with the university faculty compensation system in Taiwan, which were then used to draft an outline for subsequent interviews. Interviews are the most direct approach to collecting the opinions and suggestions of experts. The interview responses not only enabled us to verify the accuracy of our document analysis but also addressed the shortcomings of the findings from the literature review and document analysis. Research Results. By integrating the findings from the literature review, document analysis, and interviews, we arrived at the following conclusions: 1. Being a university faculty member is still considered a high-paying career in Taiwan. Therefore, Taiwanese media are somewhat biased in their representation of university faculty members as having low salaries. 2. The greatest advantage of the Taiwanese faculty compensation system is its ability to provide faculty members with a stable livelihood. 3. Salary increases in Taiwan are based on seniority rather than job performance, which can easily lead to a lack of motivation and mediocre performance among faculty members. 4. The Ministry of Education is currently promoting a flexible compensation scheme, which may not receive additional support because of the lack of stable funding sources. 5. The most prominent characteristics of the university faculty compensation system in the United States are salary differentiation and meritocratic principles, both of which can inspire similar policies in Taiwan. 6. A performance-based university faculty compensation system in Taiwan should be implemented by offering additional incentives. Implications. Based on the literature review, document analysis, and interview results, we identified the following implications for the university faculty compensation system in Taiwan: 1. Although the Taiwanese faculty compensation system is domestically competitive, it still has room for improvement with respect to its global competitiveness. 2. The flexible compensation scheme promoted by the Ministry of Education is effective, but more attention must be paid to maintaining the continuity of its funding sources. 3. Increasing salary differentiation is a common trend among the university faculty compensation systems of major countries. 4. A performance-based compensation system should be implemented through the provision additional incentives with a fair mechanism of competition. 5. The current evaluation system for university faculty members should be improved to serve as a basis for performance-based compensation. 6. A “basic salary + differential + performance-based” compensation model should be established.
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