Gathering the numbers you need: Contract negotiation

Natalie Warmuth, PA-C
Natalie Warmuth, PA-C

PA Natalie Warmuth of Chicago shares her story about the importance of gathering the numbers you need before getting to the negotiating table. 

Through the ups and downs of searching for and obtaining a new position, contract negotiation is often the most difficult, hair-pulling, lying-awake-in-bed -at-night part of the process.

The first time I negotiated an employment contract, I was sitting in an IKEA parking lot on a rainy day with my phone pressed to one ear and my finger plugging the other.

On the other line was a poised and well-established surgeon who had been running his own business for the past 25 years. On a daily basis he was negotiating with insurance companies, lawyers, hospital staff, building managers, and so on.

I had previously negotiated with my 2-year-old niece to get her to take her kitty shoes off before going to bed (I lost).

The point is, negotiating takes practice and I hadn’t been exposed to enough real-life situations to position myself as a negotiation powerhouse.

According to the 2017 AAPA Salary Report, 66.2 percent of PAs are women. That same report also pointed out that female PAs made 7 percent less per year than their male counterparts (even after controlling for various compensation-relevant factors).

Does that make you angry? It should!

Before you get to the negotiating table, you must go through the AAPA Salary Report with a fine-tooth comb and pick out every number that is relevant to you.

Remember, if you negotiate an $80K, $100K, or a $120K salary, five years later, an annual 5 percent raise lands you at approximately $97K, $122K, or $146K, respectively.

Educate yourself, educate those around you, and the profession we share will be better because of it.

Now that I mention it, please take a moment to participate in the 2018 AAPA Salary Report Survey. It will take you less than 15 minutes. If AAPA doesn’t hear from us, they can’t help all PAs by provides this valuable tool every year to members.

For more tips on contract negotiation, visit AAPA’s website here.