Tales from the Tenure Track: Negotiating Your Hire Package

Negotiating Your Hire Package
Negotiating Your Hire Package

*This is just a compilation of all the great advice I?ve been given or privy to about negotiating one?s hire package.

You may be thinking, I don’t want to negotiate, why should I stick my neck out?? The only way salaries will rise for faculty (all of whom usually make $20,000-30,000+ less per year than they would in industry) is for those of us who are faculty to ask for equitable wages.? You may not think this is such a big deal now, but public school teachers in my district where I grew up topped out at over $10,000 more per year by retirement than I will as a tenure track professor if I go the full professor route and we all know how poorly they are paid compared to other industries.? Just because you start at a higher rate doesn’t mean you end at one.

It’s hard to say who has it worse, the prospective employee who must negotiate in person or over the phone.? Either way negotiations cause angst and worry, but I hope the advice I’ve compiled will help others be more comfortable in their negotiations.


When you get a tenure track offer it is very tempting to accept the first salary offered with no negotiation because it?s a better salary than the little to none you were making.

Don?t do it!

The job of your Dean, Chair, etc. is to get the best people possible at the lowest possible cost to the university. ?You really can?t blame them for wanting to hire as many people as possible at the lowest cost, but don?t let that guilt you into being paid less than you are worth.

Your negotiations will set the tone for your employment. ?Do you want to be seen as someone who knows what they are worth or a push over? (No I didn?t feel comfortable asking for more money, but I did it anyway and it paid off. ?(And yes it was nerve wracking, but I?d do it again!) Bite the bullet and ask for a higher salary!

What they initially offer you is often the minimum they are allowed to pay for your position given your academic rank.? If this is so it doesn?t mean you should ask for insane amounts of money, but a little research online will tell you what the salary ranges are for your department and classification for any public university. Alternatively, you can register for GlassDoor.com to see if others have posted salary/benefits information about your non-public employer.? Don’t ask for a tenured salary if you are coming in pre-tenure, it isn’t going to happen!? If you can?t find out what the salary ranges are and want to play it safe $1,000-$2,000 per year is generally a reasonable increase to ask for.

When you ask for more money justify it based on your expertise, increased cost of living because of the move, etc. ?You don?t have to go on and on about it, just a sentence or two about what you would like and why will do.? If you are one of the lucky few who gets offered lucrative amounts of money well above the minimum for your rank you can ignore this advice and concentrate exclusively on asking for extras to help you do your job.

One time costs = Easier to Fund

One time requests do not carry over from year to year and are easier for administrators to okay.

Things you could ask for:

  • Laptop
  • Equipment
  • Extra Moving Funds (Need a higher limit to have a car towed, or to take into account your large family, it never hurts to ask. ?Depending on the rules they may or may be able to accommodate you.)
  • Extra Startup Funds (Justify with specific needs like setting up a new program, cost of equipment vs. cost/inability to send samples out etc.)
  • Extra Professional Development Funds (One time workshop / class / conference attendance.)
  • Library Resources (Even if they don?t give them to you it doesn?t hurt to let administrators know what you believe are crucial resources that are missing from the university. ?You never know, you could be the feather that tips the scale to buy.)

Keep in mind you won?t necessarily get everything that you ask for, but as long as you ask for reasonable (i.e. within your pay scale) salary increases and funding for items and activities that are job related you will probably get some of the things you ask for.? If a place drops you from consideration just because you asked for an extra couple thousand a year instead of counter offering somewhere in between the two amounts I?d wonder if it was a overly rigid place to work.

Remember if they give you the offer they want you.

Stand up for yourself and the hard work that got you the job offer: Negotiate!


See what other people have to say:

Academic Jobs: Salary Negotiation

Negotiating a Tenure Track Job?Offer

Negotiating The Tenure Track Job Offer (I disagree with the poster about salaries, but the comments are excellent!)