I'm a 2nd-year post-doc at a US university on the West coast, and I'm currently seeking my next position. I have had interviews at two universities on the East coast. Because I received positive feedback and my interests align well with those positions, I believe that they will be offered.

Here're my question about the salary:

  1. Do they (university and PI) usually consider the 2 years of my previous experience in my current school? Does US university faculties usually consider the previous experience?

  2. If they do consider experience, then will my salary be calculated as for a 3rd-year postdoc?

  3. If they don't consider experience, then how could I request a raise to 3rd-year post-doc level? Is it OK to negotiate regarding this issue?

  4. I know that PIs (university professors) usually do not offer the moving expense for new post-docs. But is there any chance that the university might offer support with moving expenses?

I have never negotiated my salary before. There was no choice when I was Ph.D., and the first post-doc position offered to me was quite generous. So these kinds of things are totally new to me.

  • 3
    For my post-doc in the US (in Computer Science, funded on a NSF grant), the salary was not negotiable, and there was no reallocation funds. I had a small raise for the second year, though (it was an automatic, University-level raise). My experience made me hired, but did not impact my salary. There won't be a definitive answer to your question other than the one you'll get by asking. If you get an offer, you're in position to ask, but it's better if you can justify how this raise would help you in performing great in your work.
    – Clément
    Nov 10, 2017 at 2:56
  • 1
    This may depend on the funding source/your field. Postdocs funded via certain NIH mechanisms have a mandatory salary minimum which varies by year: grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-17-003.html
    – AJK
    Nov 10, 2017 at 7:02

1 Answer 1


In my experience, the particulars of a postdoc position vary more widely than academic jobs at any other level -- so much so that it may not be helpful to speak in generalities.

I have direct experience with (some) postdoc positions in mathematics in the United States and Canada. For these postdoc positions, the salary was the same for all years (usually 2-3) of the position. Moreover this salary was a standard one given to all postdocs of the same "kind" (roughly, the same funding source) and was not negotiated in the cases known to me. However, if I remember correctly, the last time I brought this up on this site someone else told me of a North American math postdoc position that did include annual raises.

Again in my (relatively limited) experience, someone who does a second postdoc is not "senior" in any positive way to someone who is on their first postdoc -- if anything, there may be a mild perception that someone who is doing their second postdoc was not successful in landing a tenure track job. But these things may be different in your field.

how can I 'politely' ask them to raise the salary according to 3rd year post-doc level?

The way to ask politely is...to ask, politely. Namely, don't ask them to do it, but inquire into the possibility of doing it. There is really no harm in asking about a salary bump, moving expenses or whatever -- if it's not on the table, they'll tell you. If it is, you can explore it. As long as you don't make hard demands or counteroffers, they should be happy to talk to you about it.

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