Researchers are consistently making data-driven decisions to move their research forward. AcademyHealth recently launched a new tool to help health services researchers make data-driven career decisions based on information from the field. The AcademyHealth Salary Comparison Tool has upleveled how researchers manage career advancement and salary negotiation. This isn’t just a generic compilation of numbers. The tool personalizes data for each researcher’s specific circumstances by salary, geographic location, and workplace setting to ensure the insights are directly relevant to their career.  Additionally, committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, the tool is bringing increased transparency to compensation within the health services and health policy research profession. 

Available to members-only, the AcademyHealth Salary Comparison tool allows users to compare their salary to others in the field based on several factors, including: 

  • Workplace Setting 
  • Career Level 
  • Gender Identity 
  • Racial Identity 
  • Ethnic Identity 
  • Geographic Location 
  • and more 

Recognizing that negotiating a higher salary is important for career advancement, AcademyHealth is offering the Salary Comparison Tool as a benefit for its membership community. The data used in the tool is based on information from the 2023 AcademyHealth Salary and Compensation Survey. A total of 7,115 researchers were surveyed and 564 responded, yielding a survey response rate of 7.9 percent. 

Topline data gleaned from the survey shows us that the average salary for health services and health policy researchers is $133,677. Diving deeper into the data shows us that the average salary by career stage is as follows: 

  • Senior = $192,910 
  • Mid-Career = $136,819 
  • Early Career = $104,562 
  • Student = $38,876   

Workplace location is a key factor in salary and compensation packages. Evaluating the data further shows differences in compensation by geographic location (state-by-state data), workplace location (suburban, urban, rural) as well as the differences by telework status.  

The tool also provides city-specific insights to help researchers understand the cost of living and their earning potential. This helps evaluate the financial implications of a move by comparing the earning potential in your current location with that in potential new cities. Additionally, the Salary Comparison Tool can be used for comprehensive decision-making where researchers make well-informed decisions about their career and lifestyle by looking at the financial aspects of relocation in addition to the job offers. 

In addition to salary and compensation, the tool also highlights the challenges facing health services/health policy researchers. Researchers stated that the top three challenges they face in their profession include:   

  • Obtaining adequate funding for work  
  • Time/time management 
  • Moving their work into policy or practice  

Additionally, while salary is an important part of a position, there are other factors that lead to career satisfaction highlighted in the Salary Comparison Tool. Researchers can look at this based on various demographic factors such as meaningful work, work-life balance, and a positive work environment.  

The Salary Comparison Tool is an effective tool for researchers looking to: 

  • See if there is room for growth in their salary  
  • Determine what salary range aligns with their skills and experience 
  • Understand their earning potential 
  • Gain confidence in their negotiations by building a compelling data-driven case   

This comprehensive tool is aimed at helping health services and health policy researchers make data-driven decisions to advance in their career. The tool is a first-of-its kind benefit AcademyHealth is providing to its membership community. Log in to navigate this members-only tool here. 

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