• Sarah Yecke

NORDP Session Recap: Gender in Research Development and Compensation Advocacy

This year during the Annual NORDP Research Conference, I joined presenters Kay Tindle, PhD of Texas Tech and Kimberly Eck, PhD of Emory University to share results and facilitate discussion during their session: “Gender in Research Development and Compensation Advocacy.” Surveys and interviews were conducted with NORDP members to answer questions like:

  • Is there a statistically significant difference in the salaries of male and female Research Development (RD) professionals, controlling for job titles, degree type, and institution type?

  • What are the career aspirations of RD professionals based on gender?

  • How are opportunities for and barriers to career advancement perceived among RD professionals?


Results showed that after controlling for confounding factors, women earn $11,563/year less and aspire to earn $14,514/year less. Women are also more hesitant to voice their opinions and more likely to have their opinions ignored. These findings are not surprising, but they led session attendees to participate in an active discussion about how to change these results.


Some discussed their personal experiences with advocating for pay raises to their supervisors or HR representatives. Others shared how they advocated for themselves in relation to positive outcomes faculty experience as a result of their RD work. The presenters also shared some concrete recommendations to NORDP, including a mentoring program and continuing to update and promote the salary calculator.


As a female with a background in higher education who works with RD professionals regularly, it was motivating to see the attendees (virtually) chiming in to help each other and uplift their profession as a whole. Things like negotiating salaries and how to promote your accomplishments up the chain are rarely talked about in such an open way, and I felt privileged to be a part of the conversation. I hope this research and future related studies continue to promote RD as a profession and compensation advocacy as a whole.


This study was funded by InfoReady through the New Opportunities for Research Development (NORD) Grant. Each year, we are proud to sponsor projects focused specifically on Research Development (RD) because as a relatively new field, RD needs research to develop metrics that measure its activities and outcomes. Results from these studies help RD professionals enhance their skills and broaden recognition for the field as a whole. As an organization, InfoReady is dedicated to Research Development, because it helps drive progress and provides solutions to some of the world’s critical challenges.


Sarah Yecke is a Client Engagement Lead at InfoReady. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education from the University of Michigan and has worked in development, enrollment management, and student affairs.



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