Monday, May 12, 2008

gimme the loot, gimme the loot

We've all joked about it. At some point you let your class know, "I'm not in it for the money." So now that I'm years and years in and turning my attention to the job market it finally occurred to me to think about how much am I going to get paid. Obviously it's going to depend on the job, but a quick look around shows:

According to Higher Ed. Jobs we're looking at:
Instructor: $39k
New Assistant Prof: $50k

A slightly older one from Academic Keys says:
Instructor: $37k
New Assistant Prof: $48k

Ephilosopher links to a website that says:
"starting salary in a tenure line ranges from $30,000-60,000 depending on many factors."

Now I think all those figures include different types of 'compensation' but they all are looking a lot better than my stipend. I sorta figured that with absolutely no bargaining power [how many of us have the luxury to turn down jobs?] we'd get jerked around a bit more in terms of starting salary. Maybe that comes in earlier with more VAPing and Instructor positions and less assistant professor positions?

I'm smart enough to realize that I'm not going to be working less hard after I get hired, but it's nice to know that I will get paid something.

-- Second Suitor


Anonymous said...

We'll never be paid what a PhD is worth...

Here are what our undergrads in the Business School earn upon graduation - average age, 23

Accounting 37,000 – 45,000

Business Administration/Management 32,000 – 45,000

Economics and Finance (incl. Banking) 35,000 – 47,000

Hospitality Services Management 28,080 – 34,000

Human Resources 30,000 – 45,000

Logistics/Materials Management 35,000 – 45,000

Management Information Systems 36,000 – 48,000

Marketing/Marketing Management 30,004 – 40,000

Statrting salary at my school for a PhD in the Humanities - 45, 000

Anonymous said...

You _might_ get paid something. I've been making about $32/year since grad school and it's not entirely clear that I'm doing much better than I was in grad school financially. Back then I didn't have to pay off student loans, didn't have to worry about buying myself a computer, paying for conference travel, etc... I've been basically living paycheck to paycheck since undergrad.

One piece of advice to grad students. Do your best not to run up any credit card debt if you can. I didn't have much, but a few grand in debt can keep you pretty screwed as you start your phil career for quite sometime. Unless you're tenure track, in which case I pretty much hate you. Rich pigs.

Asstro said...

A few things to say about this:

First, your instructor salary looks a bit high. I was making $30k as an instructor. I think some make even less than that. If you consider roughly $5k per course, you _may_ be able to swing $40k on a 4/4 load, but that's a lot of work; and I think there's even reason to believe that those instructor rates are pretty high. In the early years of my career, a mere six years ago, I think I even took courses at less than $3k per course. Ugly stuff.

As for the TT salary, those seem about right. What you should remember, however, is that those are nine-month salaries. You can increase your salary per year by teaching over the summer. Of course, many of us don't do that, choosing instead to dedicate our summers to research; but if your research demands aren't exceptionally heavy, or once you land tenure, this may be a desirable alternative.

Anonymous said...

This year, I'm making around $22K as a lecturer in a humanities department at a major research university. Next year, I'll be teaching at a private high school, where my Ph.D. has bought me a starting salary close to $70K. They're also paying my relocation expenses, giving me a conference travel budget, and buying me a computer.

Life outside the university can be pretty worthwhile, and even intellectually satisfying. It's worth thinking about.

Anonymous said...

you can have some bargaining power, even as a new asst. prof and even w/ no job offers. if a school wants you, they'll budge a little on some things (small salary bump, moving expenses, more travel $, etc.). believe me, search committees tend to want searches to be successful, and to hire their top choice. generally, if all that stands btw a candidate's acceptance and having to run a search all over again is 2k, they'll usually give you the 2k least at my school.

Anonymous said...

"One piece of advice to grad students. Do your best not to run up any credit card debt if you can."

Excellent advice. I'd add to that: save some money before you finish. Spending a few years on the market can get really, really expensive (especially if you have to go without institutional support for things like conference travel).

The other thing I'd mention is that you'll find your concept of money and comfort will change dramatically between grad school and job--so these salaries will quickly begin to look like what they are: barely middle class wages.

I remember getting my first VAP, thrilled to have so much money, but suddenly surrounded by people who were raising children, buying houses, new cars, and realizing that 40-50K doesn't easily buy an average middle-class life. I wasn't particularly anxious to have that life--but once you're officially "faculty," everyone, from students to peers, starts expecting you to live that way, so it gets hard to keep perspective.

Anonymous said...

the way i see it, anyeone smart enough to get through a philosophy ph.d. program is smart enough to graduate toward the top of their class in a top-20 law program. maybe i'm not giving law schools enough credit, but given the people i know in law school and what i know of people who've left phil ph.d. programs for law school, this seems about right. the two disciplines require a lot of the same skills (close readings of texts, tight argumentation, lucid writing, etc.)

anyway, the upshot of all this is that pretty much anyone in philosophy could be making a lot more money being a lawyer. but the lesson to take away is not that we should bitch about how well compensated lawyers are... if we wanted that compensation it would be easy to get. we should rather rejoice that our work is meaningful to us, our schedules are flexible, and so on.

jp said...

Although I agree with the main substance of the previous comment, in fairness to lawyers, two disanalogies stand out. First, law students pay for their school -- a lot. They're putting maybe $100,000 into their educations, along with those three years. We philosophy Ph.D. students are paid some $125,000 while we earn our degrees over five years (adjust both upward as appropriate). Second, law students work a lot harder, on the whole, than we do. (I'm definitely SMART enough to be a top-tier law student; but I'm pretty confident that I'm also too LAZY.)

So even before you start counting how much their jobs make them miserable, there is a considerable financial cost of going that route. It would be pretty crazy if we got paid as much, coming out, as they did.

jp said...

Sorry, I should have been clearer -- my post was in response to A-7:53.

Anonymous said...

It would nice to hear from those who landed a job this year what there starting salary is, if they were able to negotiate a higher salary and the basic profile of the school they got a job at, e.g., the kind of school and the location.

This would help us who plan to one day land a job to be realistic about our own prospects. Moreover, it might help us avoid accepting an offer that is to low or avoid holding out for an unrealistic salary.

Of course this could degenerate into bragging. But since its all anonymous, I don't see the harm.

Anonymous said...

"It would nice to hear from those who landed a job this year what there starting salary is"

Anecdotal evidence isn't really helpful, since starting salaries vary widely. You're better off looking at the APA's breakdown of salary averages by categories (region, rank, state vs private, BA/Masters/PhD, etc):

Anonymous said...

I've done the AAUP thing. The problem with it is that you only get averages for all disciplines. I want to know what philosophers are getting.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon 1:39. Antecdotal evidence only goes so far because starting salaries can be all over the place. For instance, these are some of the actual salaries I am aware of for different philosophy positions this year:

$52,000 East/VAP/SLAC/3-2 load
$32,000 East/TT/SLAC/4-4 load
$35,000 East/VAP/public/4-4 load
$58,000 East/VAP/SLAC/3-2 load
$53,000 East/TT/SLAC/3-2 load
$45,000 East/TT/public/4-4 load
$49,000 Midwest/TT/SLAC/3-3 load
$42,000 Midwest/TT/public/4-4 load

Anonymous said...

That list does help somewhat. I wouldn't have thought that there was a university out there, on the east coast no less, that had a $32,000 salary for a TT position. Even in a place with an insanely low cost of living, that is barely getting by.

It also looks like the other salaries on the east coast are getting paid around 5,000 grand less than say the Maryland AAUP averages.

You're obviously right that we need more info. to make any firm conclusions. But, the numbers at least give you a sense of what's out there and something to compare to the AAUP averages. Don't they?

Newly Hired TT said...

Yes, the AAUP averages can be deceivingly high, as philosophy salaries tend to be on the lower end of the spectrum. This is especially true at universities, where certain grant--fueled disciplines push the averages up considerably.

One upshot of this is that SLAC salaries are often unfairly perceived as being much lower than university salaries. This just isn't the case, especially at the junior level. Many SLACs pay in the 50's and 60's to start. By contrast, starting pay at many non-flagship public universities is in the low 40's. I'm making 53k at a school you likely never heard of. 2-3-2 load (quarter system). Not the best, but very nice in my book.

Also, while it would be nice to have PhD students around, I'd rather have no grad students than the (usually) sucky and time-sucky terminal MAs that populate most of the hundreds of non-elite universities around the country.

Anonymous said...

$58,400 SoCal/TT/LAC/3-3 load

Anonymous said...

$67,000/East/TT/public/3-3 load

tenured philosophy girl said...

Damn, anon 2:27. You just sent me into a major depression.

Anonymous said...

2-2 VAP at $65K + benefits

Anonymous said...

Also, while it would be nice to have PhD students around, I'd rather have no grad students than the (usually) sucky and time-sucky terminal MAs that populate most of the hundreds of non-elite universities around the country.

I'm not sure about this. I used to teach at a non-elite university with a terminal MA program. It definitely had its advantages. About 20% were very good and went on to PhD programs (although not always in philosophy). About 50% were enthusiastic but not great. And about 30% didn't have their heart in it. So, I got to teach seminars to small numbers of students, 70% of whom were enthusiastic and willing to indulge me in reading a variety of advanced, cutting-edge articles in my own research area. Try teaching a class to good but mostly unenthusiastic students and then compare it to teaching mostly enthusiastic students of more uneven talents, and then tell me which you prefer. I'd take the latter any time.

And MA programs have many of the perks of PhD programs without the extra duties incumbent on dissertation supervisors. For example, you get to teach advanced seminars and you get TA's for your larger classes, but you don't have to supervise book-length theses. And not all MA programs require a thesis. Mine offered an exam option, which the less ambitious students usually preferred. This freed me up to supervise the select number of theses written by students who wanted to "go on."

Finally, there's less guilt in teaching MA students who fail to make a career of philosophy. They sacrifice only a couple of years, and many still have that youthful energy after they've graduated, which they can then apply to law school or the Peace Corps or whatever else they decide to do.

What's not to like in this?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

$70,000 East/TT/SLAC/ 2/2 load

Anonymous said...

67K+full benefits/west/private/5-4 load

All other unofficial offers were substantially lower: 56K, 47K, and 42K.

Anonymous said...

anon 11:31

on the one hand, 67k is damn nice.

on the other hand, 5-4 is not.

getting paid more, because you work more?

isn't there an apa guideline against that sort of thing?

Anonymous said...

One thing about negotiating salaries that I've learned this year. Here's how our department works. I have no reason to think it's any different from other departments (i.e., I'll use a single case as the basis for my inductive inference because I'm not one to reason like a coward).

The department is given X dollars for raises each year. Grad students from fancy departments without a publication to their name ask for more money and basically drain that account. Everyone else is left without a raise. Third year as a lecturer and I've never received any sort of raise. Friends who are tenure track in the department and get tenure are paid less than the schmoes that are fresh out of grad school. Not that I'm bitter.

Anonymous said...

anon 11:07

The 42K job had a 4/4 load, and the 47K job had a 4/4/1 load. (56K position was outside academia, but related to my training.) So why have have the same teaching load and make less?

The only guideline the APA should have is to ensure that starting faculty are paid a decent wage. And should I say that the 47K position was on the East coast, and the cost of living was approx. 28% more than where I am living now!