Friday, March 5, 2010

How Much To Request, How Much To Expect

A question arose in discussion earlier today:

When being promoted in academia, what sort of performance raise should one request or expect?

In biomedical specialties in centers that include medical schools, there are standards for salary by region and rank available through the Association of American Medical Colleges. There are a couple of problems with relying on these data to determine your salary goals.

First, they report median and various percentiles for your department, rank and administrative title, and region of the country. Years in rank generally are not filtered in, so knowing an appropriate “starting salary” is more difficult. Second, these are lag data, reported after the fact. Salaries (should) already be higher than what is in science

Some institutions use the median for rank and region as a base, adding in fudge factors for years in rank, productivity, and other variables. While this approach seems fair, it means there is really no market working in academic medicine. Basing salaries on regional medians works to keep everyone in the same range, even in short-supply specialties like my own.

The only guide I have ever received was 10%. If you get a promotion or tenure, you should receive at least a 10% raise. If you change institutions, even without change in rank, you should get at least 10% more in salary than in your old position.

Since most of my promotions occurred within a single institution, there was no “request” for a raise with promotion; I knew my chair would make it 10% since he gave me the above guidelines. However, what if you have the opportunity to request a performance raise. How much should you request? Is there a limit to how high you can go without looking like a greedy, ungrateful wretch?

I am looking for experiences. Please leave your comments, opinions, gripes, etc, along with your general area (basic science department, clinical science, whatever). I realize this is an extremely unscientific survey, but we have to start somewhere.

Photo courtesy of PhotoXpress.

1 comment:

  1. Pascale-

    We found this:

    By clicking on the first link you can input your state/year/and length of appointment, this takes you to the tables for your state. A weakness of this is that the #s are not broken out by discipline- but they are broken out by terminal degree and academic rank.