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equal pay

Beth Shuster eoshuster at UCDAVIS.EDU
Tue Jan 31 14:31:27 EST 1995

More on the subject of negotiating...

  All of the advice on negotiating for a good salary , after determining
the "going-rate" for your field, is absolutely sound.  To do that, quiz
friends & acquaintances who are, or have recently been, on the job market. 
I was able to use the salaries offered by other institutions to friends as
a negotiating chip in my own initial bargaining.  Of course, once a second
offer comes through, you can negotiate for your first choice on the
strength of the alternative.   A cautionary note - By all means, negotiate
for all you can get - you aren't likely to get what you never ask for. 
However, it is possible to push a potential employer too hard.  I know of
at least one case where an offer was withdrawn when the candidate stepped
beyond "the line" and kept pushing after it was clear that negotiations
were over (the withdrawal was perfectly legal: the individual (male) let
the reply deadline slip because he didn't think it mattered - and it
wouldn't have if he hadn't seriously annoyed the President of the
company...).  Make sure that what you are asking for is reasonable,
although you should probably aim for the highest end of the range to leave
some negotiating room.  Never threaten to refuse the job if your demands
are not met unless you REALLY mean it (suggesting that you might go
elsewhere, or mentioning other offers, is different than baldly stating
that your demands MUST be met).  It's a thin line - you must push as hard
as you can to get what you want/deserve without stepping over the edge!
   Don't forget that salary is only one (albeit important) aspect of
negotiations.  In academia, start-up funding, teaching release time (up to
a year, to allow you to get grants funded and your lab set up) and space
are also critical to your success.  If you start a job with fewer resources
than your contemporaries, you are handicapped in the "grants" and "tenure"
games from the start.  In industries, benefits may vary widely - a generous
benefits package, including such perks as an extraordinarily good health
insurance plan, a 401k (retirement) matching program and/or an employee
stock option plan, may offset a slightly lower salary (although it never
hurts to try to get the best of both!).  An employer may argue that a lower
cost of living in the area warrants a lower salary - check out the costs
(housing, energy, commuting, food, taxes, etc.), so you can discuss the
issue intelligently.  

  Ultimately, only you can decide what your bottom line is - a lower salary
may be worth a job in a particular location, or at a particular
institution/company.  Just make sure that you are not starting out
handicapped with respect to others of your experience and rank!  Good Luck!

Just my opinions.


Beth Shuster                        
Dept. of Food Science & Technology     
Univ. of California                     
Davis, CA  95616-8598                   
e-mail: eoshuster at ucdavis.edu


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