Following several interviews, I have been offered two faculty positions in the UK. Salary is among the factors I consider to choose one of the positions.

How can I reasonably negotiate the salary? Can I suggest the highest value in the range advertised? Or I shouldn't be greedy.

In general, how negotiable is salary in the UK universities?

  • 3
    Possible duplicate of How should an academic negotiate his/her salary?
    – Coder
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 18:20
  • 5
    @Coder not really a duplicate; as the answer notes, the UK context for salary negotiation is very different from the (US?) one in the linked question. Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 19:23
  • 4
    @Coder I don't think it's a duplicate, because that question doesn't take into account the country. Salary negotiations in many countries are barely allowed, or not allowed at all. Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 19:24
  • 6
    Be careful when negotiating for a higher salary. It could backfire. At my university an incoming Lecturer (Assist Prof) aggressively negotiated for a +5 points in scale (see @strongbad answer). Although he got the extra salary, upon arrival he was hit with the demands the school would have from a lecturer with 5 years experience (teaching, funding, supervision, etc.). I find it fair, but he couldn't cope and had to resign after 1 year. Usually, there are strings attached to a higher salary. Be sure to know what they are.
    – electrique
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 22:03

1 Answer 1


Salary is generally not very negotiable in a UK university. Further, the benefits of a higher salary are less pronounced in the UK than in the US. Pay in the UK is defined by a universal salary scale/spine. There is a maximum point on the spine you can achieve through normal progression. Progressing pass the standard maximum is extremely rare.

I have never heard of a department hiring beyond the standard maximum. What this means is that if you start at the standard maximum (the highest point on the scale obtainable through standard progression), you will make 10k more then a colleague who starts at the bottom. After 3 years, the pay gap will be only 5k (still a 10% raise) since the person who started at the bottom progressed and you did not. If you both get promoted at that point, you will both start at the bottom of the next tier. In other words your negotiation to move from the bottom to the top was worth 20k over the course of your entire career. If promotion takes longer, the difference maxes out at around 36 k (depending on the specific spine points).

Many department offer the lowest spine point. It is often, but not always, possible to negotiate up a few steps based on years of experience. In my experience as an American who worked in the UK, Brits find it insulting to negotiate a startup package and salary. It seemed most Brits took what they were offered (or maybe an extra step or two) while international candidates asked for the top of the range since the salaries are much lower then they expected. The international candidates are then internally laughed at for being cheeky yanks, but often paid more then their British counterparts.

  • 2
    "The international candidates are then internally laughed at for being cheeky yanks, but often paid more then their British counterparts." I don't know why you'd laugh at someone if they succeed in getting paid more.
    – Thomas
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 18:23
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    @Thomas There's a whole genre of British (well, mainly English) satire/comedy devoted to this theme...
    – Yemon Choi
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 18:32
  • Would it be "cheeky" to ask how the pay was determined? (within the same grade, but how are the different points determined?) I'm guessing based on experience. So would it be rude to ask about that?
    – PandaPants
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 16:58

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