Approximately 52,000 full-time faculty positions are filled a year in the U.S., according to the American Association of University Professors. Of those 52,000, the majority are on a non-tenured track. Working in a university isn’t exactly the highest-paying profession in the world. And without tenure, there’s no guarantee for retaining that position.
However, if working in academia is and has always been your passion, then it’s a path that’s worth it. If you’ve been with your university for quite some time now, the best thing you can do is ask for a raise. Although this is quite a taboo topic, asking for a raise in your university is possible. In this article, we’ll be discussing the ways on how to ask for a raise at your university.
How to ask for a raise in a university:
- Ensure you are performing at your best
- Practice how you intend to ask
- Show them your value
- Be sure to follow the rules of the administration
- Have a backup request in case your ask is rejected
Perform at your best
In preparing to ask for a raise, you need to perform at your best in your role — if you aren’t already doing that. If you’re already showing your best, you can use this to your advantage because when you have that talk to the administration, you can back it up with your performance and potential.
The way some people get a raise is when they truly have potential in them and they display a sense of passion and enthusiasm with their job. In this case, you need to go to work every time- not with the mindset of getting that raise eventually- but with the mindset of leaving an impact with the students you teach. If teaching is your passion, it’s going to reflect out of you, and even the administration will see this. Teaching isn’t an easy job, but if you like what you do and you find fulfillment in your career, it’s only natural that you’ll excel at your best.
Practice what you’re going to say
Whatever your speech to the administration consists of, practice this so that you become more confident and firm with how you’re going to convince them. Make sure that you’re not too harsh or demanding when you persuade them because this might seem like a threat to them, and you could risk your job. Rather, say it with confidence but without making it seem like a demand. Don’t seem indecisive or afraid when you’re going to speak your side on the matter in convincing them.
As mentioned above, if you’re confident you worked your energy and passion out of this job, then you should say that. Also, back this up with research and mention any over-time hours you may have worked on just to finish grading papers or finishing other tasks. Asides from this, research is needed before you talk to them about asking for a raise. If you know any professors in the university who have successfully been given a raise, you could approach them and even ask them for tips. No matter what, you need to get ready before gathering the courage to talk to the administration.
Beyond simply knowing what to say, you should have an idea of what pay increase would be fair. See our article on how much of a pay increase to ask for and try Raise Guide’s pay raise calculator.
Show them your value, or even your expenses
If you are consistently bringing value above and beyond what others in your position are bringing, show it. Bring three examples that demonstrate this impact. One of the easiest way to ask for a raise is to show your value.
See our full article on how to ask for a raise.
Not in any way to make them feel sorry for you, but you need the documents and proof to show that you aren’t just asking for a raise for the sake of doing so. Rather, you’re asking for a raise to pay the bills and for the stability and security of your future. Your expenses will show the administration that what you’re earning isn’t enough for the long hours and hard work you’re putting into this job. Showing them the proof of your expenses is for self-pity, but it’s to make asking for a raise much more valid than just words. Everyone needs bills to pay, and asking for a raise isn’t just being greedy. Asides from telling them about your performance, telling them about your struggle with paying the bills will get them to see that you need that raise, and you don’t just want it.
Do everything the administration tells you to do
This is one of the tactics that’s known to influence the administration in giving you a raise but earn their reliability and trust by doing everything they tell you to do. If there’s something they require you to do, deliver this before the actual deadline. Do everything you can to impress the administration with your initiative and passion. If anything, they’re constantly evaluating you so they know if you show the right skills that an employee at a university must-have.
By having the initiative, skills, potential, and passion, you have their attention and observation on you. If you can, you can even befriend them to determine how to continue excelling. Just do whatever you can to earn their trust so that asking for a raise is much easier, rather than being intimidated by them. Of course, asking for a raise is never easy and shouldn’t be done in any form of manipulation. However, this tip can help you be noticed more than others in academia.
Get ready to be rejected
This is a significant part of this list because even if we’re actively discussing ways to get that raise, you need to manage your expectations and prepare that rejection. You can’t always get what you want and unfortunately, this goes for that raise as well. No matter how much you think you deserve it and how much your performance backs up your raise, if the administration doesn’t give it to you, then you don’t have a choice in the matter.
You could be ready with alternative asks. Or, you can decide if you’re going to stay in the university despite not getting a raise. Or, you can assess if you can find another university or opportunity that gives you a better offer and income. You may have been rejected in getting a raise, but it can be an opportunity that opens doors to a different university if teaching is your passion.
In conclusion, these are 5 ways on how to ask for a raise as a professor at your university. Working for a university isn’t the easiest career. At the end of the day, you’re just trying to get by, pay the bills, and build a stable career with your passion or your degree. Through the ways mentioned above, hopefully, this helped you shed a light on getting that raise you’ve always aspired for.