This week we have a reader inspired question. I asked people who hire librarians:
Do you include a salary range in your job postings? Why or why not? Who makes that decision?
At my private academic institution, salary information is considered confidential, which means that we are not allowed (by HR) to post salary information in our job ads. Within those constraints, we try to be as transparent as possible. If candidates inquire about salary, the question is referred to the dean who will share the target range for the position. In addition, when a search is narrowed to finalists, those finalists are notified by the dean of the target salary range, so that if their requirements are beyond what we can pay, time isn’t wasted on a search that is bound to end in disappointment.
Generally, the chair of the committee negotiates the salary range with the Dean, based on other salaries in the organization.
We always include the minimum, so nobody is making a decision to do it or not.
– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans
Nothing is more frustrating to an applicant than taking the time to get credentials and application materials ready only to find that the job does not pay enough to make the move worthwhile.
This is an administrative decision.
– Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator, La Crosse (WI) Public Library
We do. It’s policy for all state government positions.
– Kristen Northrup, Head, Technical Services & State Document Depository, North Dakota State Library
Our salaries are negotiated through the city and with our union with occasional input from outside organizations who study salaries. All of our city salary ranges are publicly available on our city website.
A salary range is non negotiable, but you can start at mid range instead of the beginning if you have more experience than is advertised for the job.
– Terry Lawler, Assistant Manager and Children’s Librarian, Palo Verde Branch, Phoenix Public Library
Usually HR has a standard policy, and there isn’t anything the advertising department can do.
In a public college, the salary ranges are often a matter of public record, but you have to be a librarian to find them. Oh, wait: we are librarians. Happy hunting!
-Angelynn King, Head Librarian, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus
We have started including a salary range in our postings so applicants can “self-screen” and not apply if their salary requirements are not a match. We ask an applicant’s salary requirements in the screening questions we send to candidates who we might be interested in interviewing. Because there have been times when the gap between what we were offering and what applicants were asking was substantial we recently moved to including a range. It also serves as another way to shape applicants’ expectations about the level of the job. Obviously the education and experience requirements in the job description should convey that, but those responsibilities, if filled at a larger institution than ours, might warrant a much higher pay scale. So including a salary range gives a more complete picture.
The argument against including a range is that desirable candidates may not apply, whereas if they did and we really wanted them we might go back to our administration and negotiate for an increase and/or some way to enhance the benefits package.
We at the Library make the determination as to whether to include salary in the posting; the salary itself must be approved by our VP.
– Ann Glannon, Associate Director, Wheelock College Library, Boston, MA
Yes a range for salary is always included in the posting. This is pretty basic and we have a salary schedule based on the grade for each position, so there is not much flexibility, except for experience.
– Kaye Grabbe, Director, Lake Forest (Public) Library, Lake Forest, IL.
There is no flexibility in our Library Board adopted pay scale. Each position has a set grade with steps that only increase with time in the position. In other words, each vacant position begins at an established amount that cannot be negotiated. Thus, there is no reason for us to include a salary range.
This starting salary is included in the job posting.
– Jason Grubb, Director, Sweetwater County Library System
Yes we do.
Our county HR does this across the board. It may be voluntary but it could also be part of the union contract. I’m glad we do it because that information can inform whether or not a person even wishes to apply for any given position.
– Christy Davis, Library Director, Klamath County Library Service District
I am not sure if this was a University decision or within the Library itself – although most University postings do include the information.Generally it is the high level positions, where the salary is likely to be a negotiating point, that the information is not indicated.I think it is only fair to post this information – it is data any applicant should know going in and diminishes the possibility of surprises, misunderstandings or disappointment down the line.– Sherle Abramson-Bluhm, Head, Print Acquisitions, University of Michigan
I always try to include a minimum starting salary for positions. My institution does not usually do this for faculty positions but I have not had resistance either from the Human Resources office or from my dean when I include it in a job ad. I feel more comfortable offering a minimum starting salary than a range. Ultimately any negotiation involves the Dean of Faculty and establishing the ranges is tricky. I can say that two of my last three librarian hires involved a negotiation which resulted in a higher starting salary for the candidate who got the position. I would rather a candidate (and we) think about experience and qualifications when determining a salary rather than where they fall on a predetermined scale. I am not sure how easy it would be to justify giving someone $48k rather than $49k but I can see offering someone $45k and then negotiating to $48. I do usually have an upper limit that the Dean and I establish.– Celia Rabinowitz, Director of the Library, St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight. If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.com.
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