One of the benefits of negotiation is that it allows you to focus on the value that you bring to the department and the institution.
1 Do your research
- Housing: Determine the cost of living where the school is located to see what housing options are affordable. Is there on-campus housing open to faculty? Is a housing stipend offered? Online calculators, such as one on NerdWallet’s website, can help you figure out housing costs in various cities. Use them when considering your options.
- Moving expenses: Your first faculty job may be at your alma mater, but it could also be across the country. Say yes to the bonus road trip and ask for expenses to help get you moved and settled.
- Family benefits: If you already have children, would they cover child care search fees or school deposits? And if you don’t, are any child care costs covered or subsidized? This may not seem important now, but could become crucial sooner than you think.
- Appointments of spouses or partners: If you’re moving with your spouse or partner, does the university offer spousal hiring options? Or, are there any policies that would prevent your partner from working at the same place?
- Research: How much research time vs. class time can most people in your position carve out? You may be able to negotiate for more research time.
- Sabbaticals: These may be down the road for you, but until then you may be able to negotiate for more time for projects and publishing. Both are important to building your career.
- Start Date: If you need more time to wrap up a current role, finish school or simply move and get settled, you can try negotiating your start date so you’re at your best when you begin your new job.
- Tenure: Is this a tenure track role? You may be able to negotiate some of your expectations around tenure to ensure that you and your boss are on the same page.
Before you start negotiating, you need to prioritize your list of requests.2 Think about the top two or three things that would make you the happiest or most successful at the institution.
If you want to ask for a higher salary, this should be at the top of your list. Salary negotiation matters not just for the present, but also for the future, as pay increases are usually calculated as a percentage of your current salary. Be clear and direct when you state your desired salary: Decide on your counteroffer before the conversation starts.
Still, it’s important to keep in mind that while the size of your paycheck matters, a lower salary might be offset by other advantages, such as the institution’s location or its commitment to research. That’s why it’s important to distinguish between your must-haves and nice-to-haves before you start the conversation.