I am just finishing my training to become a specialist physician, and am interviewing to start my first attending physician job this summer. At this point I have been notified by one employer that I have an offer letter coming my way, and am trying to prepare myself for the negotiation process.
I have spent a lot of time researching negotiation skills online, and one of the points I see over and over is that you need to go into negotiation with an idea of what you are worth and how much you are willing to accept. However, this is where I run into trouble. Entry-level physician salaries vary widely (we're talking differences of $100k or more) depending on specialty and location, and nowhere is there a database or resource that gives me an idea of what I should expect right out of training, in my specialty, in my city. I've asked around among my colleagues and advisers and the answers I get are all over the map and only based on their personal experience. I've considered asking a current employee of the hospital where I am interviewing to compare, but it seems like this is generally disapproved upon.
On top of that, I'm a woman, and am concerned about making sure I get an offer comparable to my male colleagues (shown to be an issue among physicians and in my state specifically), which makes me even more motivated to ace the negotiation process.
When I receive my offer, how do I judge if it is reasonable or not? If it is lower than my (admittedly very vague) expectations, how do I know if I am getting lowballed or if it is consistent with others at the same hospital? And how do I negotiate for higher pay if I feel it is warranted?