I want to start by saying that I really dislike the “negotiating part” that comes with the academic job market. But you have to be prepare to do it because as Stephen Aguilar mentioned “You are, in fact, taking important steps to make sure that you are positioned to be successful and also guaranteeing that you will earn a salary that can support you.”
Getting multiple offers is a pretty awesome and humble place to be, but the reality is that it can also be stressful. First, there are not that many resources that will help you if you get multiple offers. Additionally, you are constantly wondering “what is the best decision?” because likely if you made it to the “offer” stage of a job search you are definitely considering the institutions, the programs, and those who would be your colleagues.
My recommendation is to reach out to trusted colleagues who have your best interest in mind. This include colleagues who you feel comfortable talking about the numbers included in the offers and/or who have experience transitioning between institutions.
A few items to keep in mind with the negotiation process with one or multiple institution(s) is to think about what is most important to you. Here are a list of items you want to keep in mind:
- Start-up funds
- Moving expenses
- Initial trip to find a place to live
- Moving your belongings
- Institutional Computer
- Yearly travel support
- Graduate research assistant support
- Teaching load
You may consider putting together a spreadsheet in which you can compare institutions side-by side. Once you get information on these factors. You will be better informed on how the institutions support new faculty. The next step is to consider other factors that are critical to you (and your love ones):
- Cost of Living
- Schools (for those who have children)
- Overall quality of life
Something to keep in mind is that there is a search committee waiting to hear your decision, take your time to make the best decision for you but also be respectful of their timeline and the fact that if you do not take their offer they have to go with the next candidate. It is always good to ask the person making you the offer, how much time you have to make a decision.
- For some institutions your start-up funds will include the cost of graduate research assistants for multiple years and other will negotiate graduate research assistants separately.
- Start up funds vary widely depending on the institution, even among R1 institutions.
- For most institutions you will be asked to itemize your start-up funds. However, some will just give you a specific amount of start-up funds and let you decide how to use them.
- Some will have a specific amount of time for you to use your start-up funds. Others do not have a specific time frame.
- It is wonderful to get a really good start-up funds but do not forget about your salary. Your salary should be at an amount that puts a smile on your face.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, negotiation is not my favorite activity. So in order to learn, engage, and communicate I looked for resources that provided advice for those in the academic job market. These three in particular were very helpful (two were recommended by trusted colleagues):
- Yes, You Should Negotiate by Stephen J. Aguilar
- Negotiating as Therapy by The Professor is In
- Twitter Thread by Kieran R. Mathews