Re: Arts: Salary Equity?

Robert Drummond (robertd@YORKU.CA)
Sun, 14 Sep 1997 12:49:33 -0400

I cannot speak to the present situation in Arts, and only very little to
the past. The first question I asked Chairs (and sometimes they told me
without my asking) when a file came forward recommending an appointment
was whether they had a recommendation with respect to salary.
Sometimes they were aware of salaries of new hires elsewhere in their
disciplines, sometimes they had discussed salary with the candidate, and
usually they would be aware of the salary distribution in their own
department. In the absence of such recommendations (and indeed even
when they WERE available) I took a salary figure that was roughly 10%
above the floor (since the market generally seemed to require that;
that is, it was difficult to get people to come to Arts for less) and I
augmented it where relevant by an adjustment for any years of full-time
university teaching/research or post-doctoral fellowship. In those
days, "part-time" teaching (even if it was more than a full load) was
not accounted, and that has produced some anomalies certainly. I then
offered that salary to the candidate. Many accepted it; some asked the
Chair to ask for more and sometimes I naively agreed. (I remember one
Chair who asked that I give the candidate an extra $1000; I thought that
not a large amount -- I didn't consider the effects of compounding --
and agreed that if that would secure a good candidate, I could live with
it. The Chair subsequently approached me about his/her own salary,
since my offer to the new candidate had now made it anomalous -- that's
what I mean by naively). In other cases, savvy candidates negotiated for
more, on the grounds of another offer, or a position already held, or
relevant experience not considered. Those negotiations sometimes
concerned salary, sometimes rank, sabbatical credit, or equipment needs.
Some Deans were very tight in such bargaining; I was only there for one
year and was probably something of a push-over, but we got some good
candidates. If people did not come to negotiate for more, or send their
Chair to do so, I assumed they considered the salary fair. More naivete
on my part perhaps. Deans will always want some flexibility to be
able to secure candidates who may be widely sought after, and equity may
demand a rather more rigid system of steps on a grid. If we move to
seek constraints on Deans, we should be prepared to lose some candidates
and perhaps to lose some of our own individual bargaining power in the
service of a greater sense of fairness across the community. Hope this
was some help and did not surprise or offend too many of the people who
were hired in my year. Regards, Bob


Robert Drummond Associate Professor Political Science York University (416) 736-5265 fax: (416) 736-5686 email: