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Excellence Everywhere - National University of Ireland, Galway

Excellence Everywhere - National University of Ireland, Galway

If talking directly

If talking directly about money is notsocially acceptable in a given place, whatkind of conversation could yield somegeneral numbers without showing yourhand or asking someone else to?You can engage in a conversation with humanresource personnel in a relaxed environment(away from the work environment) whereyou can talk about your vision of the researchgroup that you will be leading. This group willbe in various grades and will also have differentcareer advancement requirements as wellas salary scales. On the pretext of this lineof discussion try to find out (how advancementworks) and where you want to be in thenext five years.Also try to get the associatedadvancement grades and some salary scales.In so doing you may be able to estimate thesalaries of those that are above you and thuscompare with your own salary. It is mucheasier to find out what salaries those yousupervise earn than those who supervise you.”Susan Mutambu, ZimbabweWhat You Need to Find OutHere are some of the details you will need toask about.The Appointment. You need to know the following:n What your job title implies about your independenceand authority, length of your expected relationshipwith the place where you are working, and expectationsabout your role(s) within the organization.n The length of your initial term of employment.n The terms under which the organization’s commitmentto you will be renewed or not renewed.The Salary. You need to pin down the following:n Is the salary guaranteed, and if so, for how long?In other words, you need to know whether partof your salary and other support must eventuallybe obtained from other sources.n Are you responsible for obtaining money for yoursalary through grants, or will your institutionprovide it?n If your institution provides it, what is the amountof your base pay (this may determine future raises)and is that base pay tied to a particular grant orother funding source that may expire?n Can the salary be negotiated or is it a set amountfor the type of position you are being offered?n What benefits come with the position?n Can you supplement your salary from othersources, for example by consulting or teaching orworking in an unrelated job?n What are your institution’s policies on outsideconsulting, including how much consulting ispermitted, what approvals are required, and whatlimitations apply? Are there outside opportunitiesthat are explicitly not allowed?Salary. If your salary is negotiable, you shouldseek out sources of information you can use toevaluate your initial offer. Salaries differ not onlyfrom country to country, but even within thesame country they can vary widely depending ondegree, geographical location, type of institution(public vs. private, research institute vs. universityvs. hospital), and scientific discipline. To evaluatethe salary offered, you need comparative informationon starting faculty salaries at the institutionoffering you the job and in your field elsewhere,as well as on costs of living.Salary numbers are confidential in many institutions,but it can be useful to draw on friends andcolleagues to at least get an idea of the appropriaterange.Research Money and Facilities. In somecountries, an institution is expected to provide aninvestigator who is just starting his or her ownlab with some money for hiring workers and forbuying supplies and other resources such as officeand lab space, equipment, computers and software,a technician and other support staff, helpin obtaining grants, and support for travel to conferencesand meetings. This kind of institutionalsupport may be ongoing, or it may be availableonly for a pre-determined period of time, afterwhich the head of the lab is expected to obtainfunds through other sources, such as grants.16 excellence everywhere

If you are to set up a new laboratory yourself, it isuseful to inquire about how to get such resourcesat the institution. You may inherit them or beexpected to share them with others in the researchgroup. However, if it works at your organization,it is good to ask up front about the resources youneed so that you can plan appropriately. You donot want to later find out that your assumptions donot match those of the person or people who havehired you.Service within the Institution. Ask whether youwill be expected to serve on committees withinthe institution and about other projects you willbe expected to become involved with, in additionto doing your research. Early on, try to establish anunderstanding and agreement with your superiorsabout how your time will be divided between yourresearch project and other tasks.Teaching Responsibilities. If your job will beattached to a university, you should know thatalthough it is rewarding, teaching can be the mosttime-consuming activity for new faculty. You willwant a clear statement about the following:n Your teaching load (the number of subjects andclasses each term, typical enrollments, and levelsand types of students).n Expectations about teaching-related tasks suchas running student laboratories and administeringand grading student examinations, students’accessibility to you during non-lecture times, andadvising students on their university curriculum andtheir careers.n Whether you are expected to draw students intoyour research work and direct their thesis projects.Protecting Research Time. If you are a physicianwho is seeing patients and doing research, or if youare a government scientist or public health officialwho has administrative tasks and is doing research,you will need to clarify as much as possible howmuch time you will spend in each of your roles.You need to know what is expected when yourother responsibilities call you away from yourresearch. If you do not get a clear understandingof these issues before you start your new job, youmay become overwhelmed when opportunities orcrises put your various roles into conflict.The pool of jobs is limited in our clinicalsetting, which does compromise one’s abilityto negotiate. Secondly, for active clinicians,posts are mainly clinical. Research is seen asa secondary activity which does limit timeallocated to research and the ability to negotiatefor protected research time. Fortunately,the status quo is changing. Government hasbegun to increase research funding throughthe National Research Foundation and theMedical Research Council.”Brian Eley, South AfricaJobs are far too scarce! One has to findsomething, anything, and then negotiate astime goes by and you climb the ladder.”Abdoulaye Djimdé, MaliNegotiation is not so common with governmentpositions, but this can be done in cases ofconsultancies. One can negotiate their salaryand the rest of the package (transport, housingallowances, work terms) in some parastatals(state-run companies) and the private sector.”Susan Mutambu, ZimbabweGetting What You Need and WantHow to Negotiate. If in your institution you cannegotiate some of the aspects of your job (suchas the salary, money for research, or other dutiesyou will need to perform), present your requestsclearly. Take some time to make a list of what youreally need, and think about how to explain thoseneeds to the person in charge of hiring you.Be reasonable with your requests, but do be surethat you maximize your opportunities to do theresearch you hope to do.GETTING STARTED: Finding and Moving into a Job17

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