Unless you have a “business” mindset, it can be hard to discuss finances and salaries when you start a job or are thinking about asking for a raise. This is perfectly common, and the majority of people are uncomfortable when they are asked to put a number value to their work skills. It makes it easier when there is a set salary with no leeway to manipulate, but you’re not always stuck with the benefits and rate arbitrarily assigned.
In academics, there is usually a salary structure, but some things are negotiable. When you’re ready to get paid what you’re worth, use these methods to negotiate benefits and salaries.
Why Salary Negotiating is Important
When you negotiate your salary before you accept a position, it starts you out with a solid foundation that will only continue to increase in the future. A first offer is typically not set in stone, and when you accept it immediately, you’ve lost the chance to build a stronger financial foundation.
A good salary negotiation early in your academic career can average you over one million dollars more over your lifetime. However, salary negotiating is an art that only becomes perfected with practice. In fields like higher education, the ability to be paid what you’re worth is not always possible. But when you work in an institution where they value their faculty and staff, you may be able to negotiate beyond the going “market rate” of salary structures.
The Do’s of Negotiations
If you’re serious about attempting to negotiate your salary and benefits, you must walk into the meeting prepared. Arm yourself with data and know your hard limits. If you don’t get what you want, are you going to stick around or walk away and find something else? Once you know these answers, consider the other “do’s” of negotiating a salary:
● Research the salaries in your area for similar jobs. How much are other people being paid? Look at the job title and the institutions, cost of living, and inflation. Know how much you can expect to be paid. You might get more by driving a few minutes further.
● Know your thresholds. What’s the least you’ll take? What are your driving factors? Are you unemployed and in need of anything, or are you looking for a career change? How badly you need a job can seep across to the other person, so be careful not to come across as desperate, but do let them know you appreciate the offer and ask for something more to meet your minimum if possible.
● Know the numbers you’re looking for exactly. Asking for a precise number based on the research you compiled is more likely to get you a higher foundation. Instead of a flat, round figure, use the higher end of the incomes in the area, such as $55,800.
● Prepare your argument with the data that shows you are worth what you’re asking for. Your awards, publications, projects, and other academic successes aren’t always visible. Bring them with you and let the other person know that you’re worth a raise or higher salary.
Those in academics know the importance of research and data, and you can use this to your advantage!
What Not to Do In a Salary Discussion
In addition to knowing the right way to prepare for a salary negotiation, there are some “don’ts” that you must know! Before you enter your meeting, make sure you avoid the following common mistakes:
● Don’t ask for your raise during a bad time. Just because you have a meeting at a certain time doesn’t mean you have to follow through with it. Timing is everything, and if you know the other person is having a bad day, or everything is stressful, reschedule the meeting. Consider the timing of the budgets, too. The earlier in the fiscal year, the better, so the raise can be approved.
● Don’t be wishy washy. Walk into your meeting, even as a new applicant, with confidence that you should be paid what you are worth. Let them know you will offer value in exchange for the higher salary.
● Don’t forget the benefits. Sure, salary is important, but what else is being offered that could compensate for a lower annual pay? Academic jobs often include research stipends, summer compensation, medical insurance (check for out-of-pocket maxes, deductibles, and your portion of the premium), disability insurance, vacation time, sick leave, and other benefits.
What you don’t do is just as important as what you do in a salary negotiation! Confidence is the key, but don’t be cocky and overbearing. Be respectful, polite, and prepared.
Use Impactio to Maximize Your Expertise
Negotiating a salary is not always an easy process, but when you can show that you’re a valuable asset to the institution, it’s more likely to flow smoothly. When you have a lot of research publications behind you, your expertise is maximized. Impactio can help you optimize your research and get it published professionally.
As an all-in-one platform for researchers, Impactio does everything you need. Time is always an issue for those in academics. How can you spend enough time researching and putting together your salary negotiating data when you have to compile research, too? Impactio is the answer. With this program, everything you need to create your manuscript is easily and efficiently at your fingertips, giving you more time to build your financial foundation and complete the other tasks that help you prove your value is worth your requested salary.