Context:

Appropriate salaries for athletic trainers (ATs) have been a contentious topic for decades. While professional advocacy efforts to increase ATs’ salaries have gained traction, little is known about ATs’ experiences with negotiation during the hiring process.

Objective:

To explore the reasons, influences, and factors influencing ATs' negotiation decisions.

Design:

Qualitative study.

Setting:

Individual video interviews.

Patients or Other Participants:

28 ATs who participated in a previous study and indicated a willingness to participate in the qualitative follow-up were interviewed (17 women, 10 men, 1 non-binary individual; age = 37.8±8.9 years; athletic training experience = 15.1±8.3 years). Of the 28 participants, 18 did negotiate, while 10 did not.

Data Collection and Analysis:

An individual videoconference interview was conducted with each participant. After transcription, data were analyzed into themes and categories following the consensual qualitative research tradition. To ensure trustworthiness of the findings, we confirmed accuracy through member checks, triangulated the data using multi-analyst research teams, and confirmed representativeness by including an external auditor.

Results:

Four parallel themes emerged during data analysis; factors for determining salary negotiation, reasons for negotiating/not negotiating, negotiation influencers/deterrents, and experiences with negotiation/impact of not negotiating.

Conclusions:

Negotiators used a variety of data sources to support their requests, and their decisions were motivated by their known value, the area’s cost of living, and their current financial or employment situations. Negotiators relied on previous experiences to guide negotiations and provided successes and regrets from their negotiation experience. Nonnegotiators also used a variety of data types but were deterred by fear: of not knowing how to negotiate, losing the offer, or off 26 ending those involved. Non-negotiators highlighted lack of confidence they had in their ability to negotiate and provided the financial consequences and personal regrets from not negotiating. More training, education, and publicly available data are needed to assist ATs in future negotiation attempts.

This content is only available as a PDF.