Like many of you, I’ve read Michael Fienen’s Equal Pay for Equal Work post from a few weeks ago. (It’s worth a look, if you haven’t read it.) If we want to recruit experts, it would make sense that we may have to lure them in with expert-level pay. (I’d add to this that depending on the position that we should also do much broader candidate searches than just listing opportunities for a week or two on your university’s Web site.)
Let’s face it: money is one powerful motivator. If you have a financial need for a minimum salary, all the other perks of the job will not enable you to accept. When you are interviewing prospective employers trying to get a feel for the job, you have very little information and first impressions are crucial. A salary offer could be interpreted as how you would be valued by the organization, and a lowball initial offer may be a bad first impression.
But what happens if you are hired as an expert (maybe even paid as an expert), and not treated as a an expert? What amount of money does it take to sell your soul to the zombie Web committee? In higher ed, we hire experts, but we don’t use their expertise. Instead we form large committees, seek consultants, and gather more data. We don’t make changes. We don’t take risks. We don’t want to draw too much attention to our work.
In his TED talk The Science of Motivation, Dan Pink argues that in creative work, money is not an effective motivator; autonomy is. While salary may get people in the door, autonomy keeps people from walking out of it. We need to trust our experts. What are your thoughts?