Negotiation Practices of Athletic Trainers Employed in the Clinical Setting

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Journal of Athletic Training


Context: Athletic trainers (ATs) are comparatively underpaid relative to peer health care professionals. Whereas many factors contribute to the salary and benefits of a given employment position, negotiation is a factor of the final salary and benefits package that is achieved. It is unclear to what extent ATs negotiate salary or other terms of employment during the hiring process. Objective: To explore the negotiation practices of ATs during the hiring process. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Web-based survey. Patients or Other Participants: A total of 587 ATs employed in the clinical setting who previously held at least 1 full-time employment position. Main Outcome Measure(s): Independent variables were several demographic factors as well as the current salary range. Dependent variables were participants’ responses to various survey items focused on experiences with salary and terms-of-employment negotiation. Summary statistics were used to characterize all variables and multiple χ2 analyses (P, .05) were performed to determine the significant influences of independent variables on negotiation practices. Results: More than half of ATs (57.6%) did not attempt to negotiate their salary, and almost three-quarters of ATs (70.5%) did not negotiate their terms of employment during the hiring process. The most successfully negotiated terms were moving expenses (72.3%) and continuing education funding and reimbursement (62.7%). The influence of demographic factors on negotiation and negotiation success varied, with significant findings for the number of previous full-time employment positions, gender, marital status, salary range, and number of dependents. Conclusions: It is alarming that more than half of ATs did not negotiate salary or terms of employment during the hiring process. Whereas widespread training on negotiation practices is warranted, our findings suggest it would be most beneficial for early-career and female ATs. All ATs must become comfortable with negotiating salary and terms of employment to effect change in the average salary and employment status of those in the profession.

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