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Women in Science

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Interview excerpt: Katja explains how she negotiated for a better salary when she started at Oxford. She knows female colleagues who needed encouragement to apply for re-grading.

Portrait of Katja Gehmlich© Women in ScienceWhen I started here I did negotiate quite intensely about my salary because I worked in London before, and I didn’t want to part from the London Allowance, thinking that my life wouldn’t be cheaper if I went to Oxford.

And in the end I did get this extra spine point, to make up for the difference. You have to ask for money; a similar example was when it came to re-grading, no one will come to you and say “Have you thought of re-grading?” You have to walk up to them and say, “I think it’s time for me to re-grade.” This is in a way the only way to negotiate your salary in academia.

Have you ever discussed all this with any male colleagues? Do you think women or men are more likely to ask for re-grading?

I know that statistically they do but when we discussed our re-grading then I think it was pretty much the same between men and women. I know colleagues, female colleagues who needed a bit more encouragement to re-grade, especially as the form is quite daunting when you open it [laughs]. It’s a long repetitive form and I know female colleagues, who said, “I can’t do this.” They just need the extra push. But they may get re-graded, with a bit of encouragement.