Negotiating your Salary as a Doctor

You might not realise, but as a doctor you are in a position to negotiate your salary, as well as other factors such as your rota, on call hours, CPD, and holiday time.

When applying for a job, roles will have a salary range, sometimes with tens of thousands between the upper and lower band. Here are some tips on how to approach the subject.

1. Research similar positions and pay scales

Search and compare pay scales for similar roles in similar locations here. How much are they offering? Look beyond the job title – do the job requirements differ?

    • The hours of work and the composition of your job
    • If you’re required to work any additional hours or sessions, or out-of-hours work
    • Market forces (i.e. the demand for your role in the area, as well as the supply of potential applicants)
    • Whether you will receive a bonus payment, and if so how much
    • By what method your salary will be increased each year and the amount that you are likely to receive

2. What you can bring to the role over other candidates

Perhaps you are overqualified for the role, but rather than push the team to hire someone with less experience and qualifications, convince the hiring team what value you can add on top of the job requirements.

    • The weight of your experience – length of service, types of roles undertaken
    • Your qualifications (eg MRCGP or specialist accreditation)

Think about the needs of the department, and the requirements and opportunities to make a difference that are in line with the job.

As a consultant, providing services specifically focused on your area of expertise (including managerial/leadership roles) within your specialty.

As a junior, offering to do procedures that you are trained/signed-off to do that other candidates may not be.

3. Cost of living in the area

The higher cost of living, for e.g. in London, is counterbalanced by higher wages (known as London Weighting) since the early 20th century.

The London Weighting needs to be almost £7,700 per year in Inner London and just over £6,200 in Outer London to cover additional costs (see more information here).

If you are based in London, it is possible your role already factors in a London Weighting, however, we think these figures are a good reference to ask for more compensation.

If you can find a similar position with a similar pay located outside of London, you can use that as leverage to negotiate a higher package.

4. Other benefits

It is possible that there just isn’t money in the salary budget to increase your salary.

There might be money in a training budget that you could ask for, to fund a course or qualification for you to improve your skills. Whilst this isn’t the same, think of the long term benefits of this. This may help you get your next job, and negotiate a higher salary further down the line.

Other aspects of the job description that is worth looking at, includes:

    • Whether additional expenses incurred by you are taken into account, for example medical defence organisation subscriptions
    • Paid study leave
    • Protected and paid time for continuing professional development during normal working hours

You could ask, instead of an increase in salary, for more control over your rota, on call hours, CPD, and holiday time.

If they say no…

Ask what you can do to get an increase in salary. It is also vital to understand your Contract when it come to your Rights on Pay, check out our article on this here.

Looking to change to a better paid job?

How is Doctors’ pay decided?

The majority of doctors salaries in the NHS is reviewed annually by the independent Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB).

They base their suggestions on:

  • The need to recruit, retain and motivate doctors
  • Regional/local variations in labour markets and their effects on the recruitment and retention of doctors and dentists
  • The funds available to the health departments as set out in the Government’s Departmental Expenditure Limits
  • The Government’s inflation target
  • The overall strategy that the NHS should place patients at the heart of all it does and the mechanisms by which that is to be achieved

For more information, click here.

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