Negotiating the Position

10% of conflicts are due to difference in opinion, 90% are due to wrong tone of voice

When negotiating a new position and discussing salary needs you are at the very beginning of a new relationship. It is always best to approach your negotiation with diplomacy, tact and integrity. Consider what to ask, when to ask and how to ask for what you need.

Remember there is more on the table than salary when negotiating for an academic research or teaching position. Other factors might include:

  • Startup package (e.g., research funds, lab equipment, office equipment, graduate student support for X years)
  • Reduced teaching load for X quarters or semesters when starting
  • Delayed start date
  • Sponsorship of visa
  • Partner support or dual hire
  • Moving expenses
  • Housing bonus or guaranteed mortgage rate (for areas with high housing costs)

When looking at the job offer, it is best to prioritize your needs.

Conduct research to learn what a typical job offer would include. Talk to your adviser, colleagues and those recently hired in your department. Faculty and adjunct salary data is available from The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed (AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey) and the Sacramento Bee (for California public universities).

Other tips and suggestions

  • Wait to negotiate until you receive a written offer.
  • Realize that silence when talking by phone can sometimes work to your advantage.
  • Be diplomatic and curious.
  • Design non-threatening, open-ended questions, "The startup package is lower than I had expected, I am wondering if there is any potential to explore increasing it?"
  • Put your questions (briefly) in writing and follow up with an email outlining what you understand once an agreement is made.
  • Plan on multiple iterations.
  • Stay calm. Realize that people negotiate all the time and there are predictable outcomes to negative negotiation tactics.

Remember, you are starting a professional relationship that will follow you, maybe, for the rest of your life. 

For specific advice, make an appointment with an ICC adviser.