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Academics - did you negotiate your salary?

12 replies

OliveKoch · 08/06/2019 09:13

I've just been offered a new lecturer post in a department in which I already work. A colleague of mine (male), who is also a good friend, has been offered a similar job at the same grade, but his salary is 5k greater. Technically, I was selected over him for the job I got (though he, thankfully, has been awarded a similar one).
Should I negotiate? He's been working there slightly longer than I have, but basically I suspect his starting salary was just higher.

OP posts:
OliveKoch · 08/06/2019 09:15

He's also been qualified in our clinical profession longer than I have, incidentally. But we will be doing exactly the same job.

OP posts:
Littleduckeggblue · 08/06/2019 09:18

Always negotiate! What's the worst they could say? As long as you back up why you think you deserve a higher wage

NicoAndTheNiners · 08/06/2019 09:19

I tried but got nowhere.

historyrocks · 08/06/2019 09:23

Try. When I got my first permanent post, I tried to negotiate but for no where. The HoD announced in a departmental meeting that they’d got me ‘incredibly cheap,’. A man who was recruited a year later got more money than me.

CharlieandLolaCat · 08/06/2019 09:26

Have you asked them what the objective justification is for the difference in pay that is unrelated to gender? What is the percentage difference (ie. £6k could be 20% of salary which is probably unjustifiable or it could be just 2% which means it may be)? What does pay progression look like? You could reasonably expect someone still learning in role to be on less than someone with more experience but that would lessen over time so presumably there is a plan to equalise pay - what does that look like? That isn't to say that it should be tenure based per se but there will be an element of that to it. Do they have any kind of performance related pay? How is that assessed? That's what I would be asking in your situation .....

CharlieandLolaCat · 08/06/2019 09:27

Sorry, £5k!

geekaMaxima · 08/06/2019 09:36

There are all sorts of variables here.

Have you already accepted the post? If so, it's too late to negotiate salary unless you really are prepared to walk away if you don't get it.

If you're still in he negotiation stage (offer just made and you haven't accepted), are you both on/offered the same type of contract? Clinical lecturer salaries in universities are on a different scale to academic lecturer salaries, so it's important to compare apples with apples.

What matters in terms of negotiation is the scale point, not the salary per se. 5k could be 4 or 5 scale points depending where on the lecturer scale you are. Generally, new lecturers in their first academic post are appointed at the bottom of the lecturer scale, though extensive experience as a research fellow or senior research associate (i.e, not just a regular postdoc job on someone's grant) can often lead to starting at a higher point. (Caveat - I'm in STEM so don't normally need to factor in clinical practice, but some sort of senior clinical experience should also count). These circumstances are where negotiation comes in: is your previous experience at a senior enough level to warrant a point or two extra as a starting lecturer?

So if you've been offered a salary at the bottom of the scale and have not yet accepted it, while your friend is a few points up on the same contract type even though you reckon your senior experience is at a similar level, then it sounds like you have room to negotiate.

geekaMaxima · 08/06/2019 09:37

OP - it might be worth asking for this post to be moved to Academic's Corner because salary negotiations outside academia are a completely different kettle of fish and the advice won't apply to you.

OliveKoch · 08/06/2019 16:48

Thank you all - that's really helpful. Good idea, @geekaMaxima. I could get the post moved (though have also had good advice here).

I have the job offer but haven't signed yet, so now would be the time to negotiate if I did. Basically, my colleague/friend is on the top spine point and I'm lower down. So in a few years I'd be on his salary. I'm erring on the side of not negotiating, because I really don't want to be seen as "that person" (rightly or wrongly)....

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geekaMaxima · 08/06/2019 19:48

The time to negotiate is before the contract is drawn up; that is, while it's still a verbal offer or discussions over email. It gets trickier once the contract is drawn up because then the existing spine point has been justified to HR, etc.

But really, from what you've said, you should negotiate. Be upfront: tell your HoD (or whoever) that someone with your experience should be appointed on a higher spine point, and you know that people with your experience have indeed been appointed on higher spine points in the past in this department. Then say you want spine point X (say 2 points - or 3 if you want to chance it - from the bottom).

I would do it over email from the start, but some people prefer a verbal chat that's followed up with an email. Do whatever works best in terms of the dynamic with your HoD (e.g., if you get flustered in person or if your HoD is unapproachable, do it over email; if you often chat casually to HoD, do it in person but then definitely follow it up in email).

And don't stress about it! All HoD can say is no. You won't be "that person" unless you keep pushing for weeks after a refusal Smile

LiveFatsDieYoGnu · 08/06/2019 19:56

DH and at least one of his (female) colleagues successfully negotiated their salaries higher when they were offered their lectureships. Go for it!

OliveKoch · 09/06/2019 08:50

Thanks again for the tips. Maybe I will try tomorrow, then, or at least ask for a justification of the salary difference...

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