Advice for Female Physicians to Negotiate Higher Salaries

Sandra Levy


July 03, 2018

In This Article

Make Counter Offers and Be Willing to Walk Away

Once you get an offer, keep negotiating.

"The negotiation is never over until everything is signed. There's a process called nibbling. You've had a couple of discussions, and it sounds like things are going well, and they are interested in giving you most of what you want; at the very end, throw in something else you want," Rohr-Kirchgraber said.

Rohr-Kirchgraber recounted a situation in which a male physician received a higher offer after waiting 6 months to accept a position. When he said that he was concerned about losing stock options at his current position, the new employer offered to buy out his stock options.

Female physicians who are interviewed for senior leadership positions should negotiate with prospective employers for nomination and sponsorship in professional development programs that can advance their leadership roles and put them in a better position to negotiate higher salaries. These programs can cost employers between $30,000 and $50,000.

In 2006, Grethlein was nominated for the ELAM (Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine) program. The program entails meeting with your institution's senior leadership, including the university president, chief financial officer, and chief operating officer.

The Old Girls' Network

"These opportunities get you known at the most senior level and from that other opportunities arise. It's the old girls network in academic medicine," Grethlein said, noting that of 23 women deans of medical schools, 14 are ELAM program graduates.

Emphasizing that through ELAM women can gain insights about positions they are aspiring to, Grethlein said, "I have a network of women placed at levels similar to mine that I can rely on for advice. We can do practice negotiations and practice interviewing."


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