Strategic Recommendations to Promote Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Principles in the Pediatric Scientific Workforce
Domain: Salary Considerations
Focus: Salary Equity
Author: Tamara D. Simon, MD, MSPH and Samudragupta Bora, PhD
Editor: Jamie L. Lohr, MD
On behalf of the Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Society for Pediatric Research
Individual pediatric faculty (primarily based at U.S. academic medical centers) negotiate with section/division/department leadership (occasionally in consultation with research leadership) regarding salary. Compensation is based on leadership roles, academic rank, ability to negotiate, and/or obtain competitive offers, and often fails to account for quality measures, citizenship, invisible work, and/or mentorship activities. This is further impacted by implicit bias; gender has a larger salary impact than ethnicity/race. Although salary equity strengthens institutions, fair salary negotiation is hampered by a lack of transparency in faculty salaries or other compensation. In general, public institutions have more transparency required than private institutions but even publicly reported salary data may not cover all aspects of compensation. In addition, comparative salary scales within academic medicine differ (AAP vs. AAMC), and numbers can be limited as academic rank, subspecialty, and region are considered. Additional compensation that may be largely undisclosed includes bonuses, administrative supplements, and research program subsidies. Research faculty are further impacted by variability in the interpretation of full-time equivalents and contribution to the academic mission in other areas such as the clinical arena. Another consideration for research faculty gap between grant salary caps and physician salaries may create inequities in pay. Because of the difference between total salary and the NIH salary cap, physician-scientists cost the institution more; furthermore, clinical revenue is reduced and lags or interruptions in grant funding may impact institutional commitment to salary.
What Can National Organizations Do?
- Advocate for salary equity at academic medical centers, highlighting the core professional values of promoting transparency, fairness, and equity.
- Raise awareness to guide 1) institutional leadership to develop appropriate salary policies and guidelines, including transparent, fair, and equitable faculty salaries pertaining specifically to the pediatric scientific workforce, and 2) individual faculty to better understand standard practices and responsibilities concerning salary compensation.
- Organize training and formal mentoring for institutional leadership to develop and/or adapt best practices suitable to individual contexts.
- Promote increased institutional accountability to extramural funding agencies concerning transparent, fair, and equitable faculty salaries pertaining specifically to the pediatric scientific workforce.
- Provide incentives to recognize institutions promoting exemplar efforts and demonstrating sincere commitment to support faculty in transparent, fair, and equitable salary efforts.
- Collect adequate high-quality data and monitor trends concerning faculty salary pertaining specifically to the pediatric scientific workforce.
What Can Institutions Do?
- Develop section/division/department-specific guidelines for salary compensation across different academic career stages, pertaining specifically to the pediatric scientific workforce with and without external funding. Furthermore, clarity in benchmarking to national standards is critical.
- Regulate salary incentives for faculty supported by external funding through transparent, fair, and equitable implementation of written policies, developed in active consultation with relevant stakeholders and reassessed regularly to adapt to the constantly changing pediatric research landscape.
- Create competitive faculty retention incentives promoting career longevity and wellness.
- Recognize biases in faculty salaries through intensive long-term education and intermittent refreshers, followed by adequate response plans to account for identified and potential obstacles to implementation.
- Implement an anonymous reporting system for observed bias and racism in faculty salaries.
- Allocate strategic investment in resources for faculty with special circumstances to optimize their salary.
- Collect adequate high-quality data and monitor trends concerning faculty salary including benchmarking to regional and national standards.
What Can Allies Do?
- Advocate for transparent, fair, and equitable faculty salary, pertaining specifically to the pediatric scientific workforce along with a targeted focus on junior faculty, women faculty, and those belonging to groups underrepresented in medicine (regardless of their career stage and gender).
- Pursue regular review of institutional compensation criteria with mission-specific goals and regional and national standards.
- Facilitate section/division/department leadership to recognize and appropriately manage service commitments that may be outside individual faculty’s career goals.
- Support individual faculty to routinely reassess their career progression and balance of effort as research faculty, along with the strategic alignment of current effort allocation with long-term goals.
- Establish a formal and/or informal mentoring committee with diverse expertise, including senior and peer mentors within and outside the pediatric scientific workforce, to help guide individual faculty across various aspects of their academic research career including transparent, fair, and equitable salary compensation.
- Establish strategies to ensure faculty across different academic career stages are well-informed of best practices, responsibilities, and institutional expectations of faculty salary, pertaining specifically to the pediatric scientific workforce.
- Utilize corporate knowledge of established faculty regarding institutional systems/processes/culture to strategically advocate for more junior colleagues for a transparent, fair, and equitable faculty salary, pertaining specifically to the pediatric scientific workforce along with a targeted focus on women faculty and those belonging to groups underrepresented in medicine (regardless of their career stage and gender).
- Participate in and promote implicit bias training at all levels of the academic institution.
- Promote anonymous reporting of observed bias and racism in faculty salary compensation.
What Can Individual Faculty Members Do?
- Empower to seek transparent, fair, and equitable faculty salary compensation, pertaining specifically to the pediatric scientific workforce.
- Active efforts to understand institutional, local, regional, and national standards of salary compensation of the pediatric scientific workforce for benchmarking.
- Proactive anonymous reporting of observed bias and racism in faculty salary.
- Initiate yearly meetings with section/division/department leadership (in consultation with research leadership) to assess current salary. Ideally, this meeting is a constructive space to reassess individual faculty’s career trajectory and either continue forward as-is, bolster specific support to optimize salary, or perhaps consider suitable opportunities to change directions (e.g., shift from investigator to clinical track appointments).
Link to Comprehensive References on Salary Equity