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  1. #1
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    Advice for Negotiating Academic Job Offer

    I would be interested in people's advice on negotiating a job offer in academia. I was offered an approximate salary, told it could go up next year (but not specified by any amount), but nothing else was explicitly included in the offer. Some people I've spoken to think the raise should be specified, a research allowance should be included along with a computer, and clarifications on what office furniture/equipment are part of the deal.

    Are there other things that I should be asking for? I would also like more in the initial salary (though it's a good salary offer). Any advice as to how best to negotiate that? Do you say what you want, or go higher expecting to bargain down?

    Any and all advice is appreciated

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    Are you talking about a job as a teacher? Regardless, how about asking about job security. Is there any worry that you may be laid off after a year for budget (or other related) reasons? A few years ago my brother was looking to move to a school district closer to his home. He received several offers, but all told him that job security past the one year was not guaranteed. Needless to say, he stayed at the job he had!

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    Given how competitive academia is these days, you may have better luck with non-salary items - office space, equipment, administrative support, grad student support, a research allowance (if the department is well funded), etc. From what my two nieces say, there's not much discussion of salary unless the offer is substantially below competing unis.
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    There might be some helpful advice here

    Just don't read the article on how academic faculty raises were the lowest in 50 years last year.
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    Vacation/sick days/paid time off and possibilities for overtime should definitely be discussed. Also, if it's more than a couple of hours away, I'd ask for a moving allowance.

    I think you should always ask for at least 10% more just to show you're worth it. But OTOH, it's an employer's market, so if it's a good offer, I wouldn't push tooooo much--I'd ask for 10, and expect/be happy with 4-7 % OR relocation fees.
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  6. #6

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    I know this depends highly on the field (my experience is based on business and engineering schools), but generally a new assistant professor at a research-based institution would be offered:

    - A reduction in teaching load (e.g., if the standard load is 3-4 courses per year, you only have to teach 2-3 courses per year) for anywhere from 1 year (the absolute minimum, IME, nobody teaches a full load their first year) to 6 years (some schools will guarantee a reduced load until tenure). Teaching loads should always be put into writing, at least for the first few years.

    - Guaranteed summer support for 2 months per year for anywhere from 1 to 3 years. Get the policy for after that initial period in writing. IME, after the start-up period, summer support is generally either nonexistent, dependent on summer teaching, dependent on publications (e.g., one A journal publication = X weeks of summer support), or dependent on grants (i.e., provide your own summer funding).

    - Relocation costs (generally should be enough to cover all expenses for a domestic move).

    - A written commitment to a reasonable level of funding for conference travel. Conference funding is one of the first things to be cut during a university budget crisis, so a written guarantee here is critical.

    - Funding for initial PhD students, i.e., a commitment to provide you with X PhD students for Y years to serve as dedicated RAs (working with you and nobody else), without relying on external (i.e., grant) funds or requiring the students to serve as TAs in exchange for support.

    - Start-up funds for equipment, including furniture and computers. The amount varies substantially by field. At many schools, you take what you get in terms of office furniture (although they may generously refer you to warehouse where they store unused desks and filing cabinets). At a minimum, you must get a new computer. Ideally, they will tailor that computer to your personal needs (often the IT person will say they can't do that, you must buy the package he recommends, etc., but don't buy that)
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    Congratulations on the offer AG and best of luck with it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aceon6 View Post
    Given how competitive academia is these days, you may have better luck with non-salary items - office space, equipment, administrative support, grad student support, a research allowance (if the department is well funded), etc. From what my two nieces say, there's not much discussion of salary unless the offer is substantially below competing unis.
    ITA. You might wring a little more out of them, but money is in critically short suppy on most campuses, as are jobs, and anything that costs actual cash is going to be harder to get.

    As jeffisjeff said, grab that conference money if you can.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffisjeff View Post
    (although they may generously refer you to warehouse where they store unused desks and filing cabinets).


    And if the have just, say, renovated, they may push you to take certain items that might look familiar to your students, if not to you.
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  10. #10

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    Not sure what your field is, or in what country the school is located, but I would expect that you would have more leverage in science, business or engineering, and at well-endowed private universities in the US, and much less leverage in a Humanities position or at some of the very financially strapped schools.

    Congratulations on getting the offer!

  11. #11

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    Hahaha. This thread reminds me of my husband's job offer at a Canadian Univ in Ontario. We were living in Vancouver and desperate for a job.

    Mr J is not a morning person, and at that time was rarely up before noon. The Univ. phoned at 10 AM Ont time, 7 AM BC time. We were still asleep. I took the call and attempted to wake up Mr J so he could respond to the job offer. Here's how it went.

    Univ: We are happy to offer $12,000 a year (this was 1973)
    Mr J: Huh?
    Me: Kicking him in the shins

    Univ: Well, we could make that $13,000 a year.
    Mr J: Wha?
    Me: Kicking him in the knee.

    Univ: How about $14,000? Would that suit you better?
    Mr J: Who is calling?
    Me: Kicking him a bit higher.

    Univ: $15,000 and that's as high as we can go.
    Mr J: What? Oh, yes, that sounds just about right. Thank you.
    Me: OH MY GOD!

    A few years later we talked to the negotiator about this episode and they had honestly thought he was unhappy with the first offers. Of course, by then they knew him well enough to know that he just wasn't awake!

    Good luck!

  12. #12
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    JasperBoy, I love it!!! My husband is a fierce negotiator by nature, and I have become a less lame one with much training and practice. I shall have to attempt my next salary negotiation either while half-asleep or wound up from intense negotiations with my almost four year-old son!
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