How do I find the new market range and median zone for my job?
Your ePersonnel file in Self Service now displays your P&S Pay Level, which is a two digit code consisting of one number and the letters “A” or “B”. Use the link provided on the ePersonnel file page to go to your pay structure. There you will see the current market range and median zone for your classification.
Why doesn't my salary fit into the median zone?
The median zone represents the midpoints (medians) of the market data collected on benchmark jobs. It does not represent the typical range of actual salaries paid. The normal range of salaries paid is represented by the market range. Within the range, different salary rates will reflect different levels of responsibility, funding, and job specific market considerations. The previous University compensation plan did not have a direct relationship to market salary rates, and the new redesign is the first time we have brought market information into developing our pay ranges. This information provides a new reference point in determining future salary increases. Of the University salaries outside their median zone, they approximate a normal bell curve with slightly more above than below the median zone, consistent with our past analysis that UI salaries overall have been average or slightly above our peer institutions.
My current salary appears below the market range minimum for my job. Doesn't this mean I am underpaid?
It could mean that you are underpaid for your job in comparison to the labor market; however, any salary consideration must also look at your performance in the context of your job responsibilities. University Human Resources is working with the colleges/divisions and departments to look at individual salaries paid below their market range, with the goal to bring individuals with satisfactory performance to at least their market range minimum as soon as funding is available. This must occur no later than July 2014. (This group is less than 2% of UI staff.) Future July 1 salary decisions will depend on your performance within the context of your responsibilities, the relative position of your salary within the market range, and the availability of funding. Over time, these considerations may improve your competitive position in the market range.
My salary is below the median zone. What does this mean in relation to my future salary?
If your salary is above the market range minimum but below the median zone, it is competitive within the normal distribution of salaries in the market. The fact that it is below the median zone will be a new consideration in future July 1 salary decisions, and considered in relation to your relative level of performance in the context of your job responsibilities. Being below the median zone may be appropriate for your level of responsibilities and performance, as compared to other staff within your job classification, or may be influenced by funding restrictions or job specific market factors. Future salary increases based upon performance and market assessments could also improve your competitive position in the market range.
My salary is within the median zone. What does that mean in relation to future salary increases?
Future July 1 salary increase decisions will first consider your level of performance, and then your relationship to the salary market. If warranted by your performance in the context of your job responsibilities, future salary increases could place you higher in the median zone, or even above the median zone. Your relationship to the median zone would indicate that you are currently paid a very competitive salary, but additional responsibilities and your future performance, could justify a higher salary as resources are available.
My salary is above the median zone, but still within the range. Will I get salary increases?
Future July 1 salary increase decisions will first consider your level of performance in the context of your job responsibilities, and then your relationship to the salary market. If warranted by your performance, future July 1 salary increases could place you higher in the market range. Your position above the median zone would indicate that you are currently paid a highly competitive salary, but your future performance could still push your salary higher, up to the market range maximum, to the extent resources are available.
My salary is above the market range for my job. Will my salary be reduced?
No, your salary will not be reduced. Future July 1 salary decisions will consider your performance in the context of your job responsibilities and any special market considerations for your position. If you continue to have exceptional performance, you may be eligible for an Over Range Performance Award on July 1, not to exceed a lump sum amount equal to 10% of your salary base. If there are special market considerations, University Human Resources may approve a base salary increase on July 1 to recognize special market factors and your performance.
Is it expected that my relationship to the market zone will improve over time?
Your position in the market range will first consider your relative level of responsibility within your University job classification and your performance in your job of those responsibilities. Over time, as your responsibilities and performance increase, your relationship to the market may improve, to the extent resources are available.
What is the University's goal for compensating staff?
The University must continue to recruit and retain the talent necessary to achieve the University's mission and goals. Using market data as the basis for our new compensation plan will help us achieve this goal. The University will continue to strive to pay salaries that are at market rates, within the resources available. For individual jobs, the new median zones represent the midpoint of the market for similar skills and talent. Variations in responsibilities, performance, funding and job specific market conditions are among the factors that would be the basis for paying individual salary rates above and below the median zone.
How will cost of living changes be recognized in the new compensation plan?
The cost of living index (CPI) does not factor directly into University salary decisions. However, the market survey data used in building the compensation plan will be updated each year, and the market ranges and median zones recalculated to reflect changes in the salary market from year to year. Cost of living may be one factor in how the market salary rates change, along with the level of competition for particular talents and skills.
Should everyone in a classification be paid about the same?
No. Differences in salary should reflect differences in job responsibilities and performance. However, individuals with similar responsibilities and job performance within a work group should be paid similarly.
How were the new University classifications assigned to new pay levels?
The key areas of responsibility for each of the new classifications were evaluated against the new University evaluation criteria, representing five different job attributes (knowledge and skills, judgment, breadth and scope of role, impact and accountability, and communication). These attributes have been used to define each of the pay levels. By comparing the responsibilities with the attributes for each pay level, University Human Resources has assigned pay levels based upon a best fit of the job with the attributes for a pay level. Using this method, jobs with similar levels of responsibility, judgment, etc. were placed into the same pay level.
What is a benchmark job?
Benchmark jobs are job classifications that are common in the labor market, have a clear and consistent definition for purposes of comparison, and for which reliable salary survey data is available. Benchmark jobs used for the development of the University compensation plan are representative of each job function and pay level, and had multiple sources of data available. Typically, benchmark jobs are populated by a significant number of individuals, both within the University and in the labor market.
Does it matter whether my job was a "benchmark" job or not?
By using 171 benchmark jobs representing each of the job functions and pay levels, we believe the market data is representative of all jobs in each of the pay levels. We will continue to look for reliable data to expand the number of benchmark jobs used when we recalibrate the compensation plan each year.
What determined whether the market data for my classification was based upon national, regional or local market surveys?
The market for your job is considered to be the area from which we would typically recruit to hire someone in your position. For some jobs, we recruit locally, some regionally and some national searches. In some cases we recruit exclusively from higher education, in others, we may look to other types of employers. Recruitment is what typically determines the relevant market for a job.
Will the market data be available to review so that I can see the specific data for my job?
No. The majority of survey data is purchased from organizations that conduct the surveys and is therefore, proprietary data to that organization. When purchasing the information from them, we are restricted in how we use and share the information.
My job is pretty unique. How do I know that the market range reflects the market value of my position?
The five evaluation criteria (knowledge and skills, judgment, breadth and scope of role, impact and accountability, and communication) were selected because they represent how jobs are typically evaluated by other employers in the labor market. By using benchmark jobs and market data, we can identify a market range and median zone that provides a sense of what the market is paying for similar jobs and skills. This information can then be used to guide salary decisions, along with information about your particular job responsibilities, performance, and perhaps more specific experience with recruitment and retention of similar staff.
One of the surveys used for market data was salary.com. My new market range and median zone do not fit with the salary.com information I see for my job on the web. Why is that?
The survey data that we purchased from salary.com is different from the information they post for free on their website. We can be more specific to a geographic region and business sector for individual jobs when purchasing information from them. By using multiple surveys to price each job, and using multiple jobs for each job function and pay level, we can control much of the variability between surveys.
Past market studies indicated that average UI salaries were near the mean of other Big 10 Universities. Is this still true?
Yes, in the course of using the survey data to build the compensation plan, we did look at how we compared overall when using the multiple surveys and markets, rather than looking only at higher education through the CUPA survey as was done in the past. Overall, UI salaries on average continue to be at or slightly ahead of the market salary rates
It seems like jobs that used to be similar to mine in classification and/or pay are now different. Remind me of what has changed that would explain the change in these peer relationships?
The combination of new job classifications that are defined differently and more specifically by key areas of responsibility, along with the new criteria for evaluating jobs and placing them in different pay levels, creates a lot of change in the relationships of old job classifications and pay levels. This is consistent with the original case for change and many of the problems experienced under the old system.
How is the new market range/median zone pay structure different from the current structure with midpoints and quartiles?
While both provide minimum and maximum rates of pay for jobs at different levels, that is where the commonality ends. The new structure is based upon multiple sources of salary market data, where the old structure was simply carried forward from year to year and was not based upon market considerations. The market ranges represent the salary market and the new median zones are a subset of the market range representing the majority of median values of the survey data for benchmark jobs for each pay level. The market range and median zone serve as a reference point in determining what salary rate will be required to recruit and retain the talent of individual P&S staff at the University. The former system of mid points and quartiles did not have any particular meaning, which was one of the problems with the old system.
The salary range for my job has dropped from a 9 in the old system to a 6 in the new, and the pay range is lower than before. How can this make sense?
With regard to the change in you pay level assignment, it is important to recall that we are using very different criteria for assigning jobs to pay levels than in the old system. The 36 factors in the old system weighted some job attributes differently than we do now with the new evaluation criteria, which may explain why your pay level may appear lower. Also keep in mind that there are fewer pay levels in the new system, and the pay level numbers do not have any relationship to the old pay grade numbers.
The University’s goal is to pay market competitive salaries. The new pay ranges and median zones are providing us with new information to understand the market salary rates for jobs like yours. Even though your salary appears relatively high, you can still earn salary increases through your performance.
If I would move from one job to another in the same pay level (both level 4) through a “career shift”, and the two jobs have been assigned to different pay structures (4A, 4B), would I be eligible for a salary increase?
The pay practices for a career shift allow the department to decide between a 0-5% salary increase. This will depend upon your relationship to the new market zone, and your relative salary level in relation to others in the same budgetary unit doing similar work. Your salary would not be reduced if you remain in your current pay level. This is considered a career shift because the pay level is the same (both level 4). The assignment of the job to the pay structures within level 4 (either A or B) does not change the range of possible increase.
Past market studies have shown that University of Iowa research related positions have been near the market average. Has that changed?
A number of things have changed in our new system that would impact any comparison to our past market studies:
- We have a new job classification system that now includes many more types of jobs into research categories that may have previously been in our "generic" classifications (program assistant, program associate, etc.) and were not part of our previous analysis. We are now able to make more comparisons for more jobs, providing us with additional data. In addition, the Research Assistant classifications I and II were combined, which also impacts the comparison.
- Past studies have focused on average rates of research staff at the University and in the marketplace. We can now look more closely to see the distribution of salaries, which allows us to evaluate the market position of individual salaries.
- Past studies have relied upon one source of survey data. We are now drawing upon multiple surveys for each benchmark job in building our compensation plan.
Does the distribution of research salaries indicate any particular trend?
The distribution of research professionals and all research staff as a whole has a fairly normal distribution, with 50% in the median zone for their classifications, and a distribution of the higher and lower rates on either side of the median. The distribution is skewed slightly toward the lower end, which reflects the fact that the new evaluation criteria placed some jobs (e.g. research scientists and engineers) into higher pay levels, where the higher pay structure makes the current salaries now appear lower than before. The distribution of research salaries provides new information that can now be factored into future salary decisions and in developing future budgets requests for funded research.
Does funding source impact the operation of the University's compensation plan?
No. While the availability of funds is always a limiting factor, that is true of all funding sources. We are required to apply our compensation policies and practices uniformly regardless of the funding source.
My salary appears high in the market range for my job classification. This seems consistent with my belief that I am in the wrong job classification.
Your salary and its relationship to the market range are not considerations in determining your University job classification. Job classification assignments are based upon the key areas of responsibility describing what you do in your job. When the new compensation plan is implemented in late October, there will be a new tool to document changes in your job responsibilities that may justify a change in job classification.
Your salary rate and its relationship to the market range and median zone may reflect your past job performance and/or the perceived level of competition for your skills. The new structure based upon market comparison will provide a better comparison to the market for most jobs, but your department will know best what they need to pay to recruit and retain any special skills you may bring to your job.
How can I use the new classifications to think about career advancement?
Human Resources developed a tool for staff members and supervisors to use in career development planning. The benefit of the new classification structure is that you will see the key areas of responsibility for jobs in your job family, as well as in any other family that you might aspire to. Through the use of the planning tool, you and your supervisor can develop strategies to build up the skills needed to assume other responsibilities, either through growth in your own job, or by being more competitive for vacant positions elsewhere in the University. We have added competencies to each classification, which also support career development.
Is it possible that I could be in the same University classification as my supervisor?
Yes, it is possible. One of the design parameters for the new classification structure was to have more specific classification descriptions. However, the new classifications are built around key outcomes, and if your supervisor performs similar work the majority of time with the only exception being the addition of supervision, they might still fit within your same classification. We anticipate such differences in job responsibilities, as well as performance levels, will be reflected in the individual salary decisions under the new compensation structure.
Is there a relationship between jobs in different job families? For example, does the third job of a series in one family have a relationship to the third job of a series in another family?
No. Each job family was developed independently, and there is not any relationship between the jobs across job families.
What does the market range represent?
The market range represents the typical distribution of salaries paid for similar jobs in the same pay level and structure, based upon data collected on benchmark jobs.
What does the median zone represent?
The median zone represents the median values or midpoints of the salary market data collected on benchmark jobs in the same pay level and structure. They do not represent the full range of possible salaries, but instead, serve as a point of reference for determining individual salary rates.
Why are there two pay structures for each level? Are the jobs evaluated the same?
The University evaluation criteria were used to place jobs into pay levels based upon their key areas of responsibility. In this way, jobs with similar levels of responsibility would be grouped together when determining pay. However, the market data for all jobs in a level was not the same. In order to define a median zone that was specific enough to guide salary decisions, we identified jobs whose market data stood apart from the others, and set up Structure A to cover the majority of positions, and Structure B for those whose market data indicated the need for a higher median zone and market range.
How were the jobs assigned to Structure A vs. Structure B?
The majority of jobs (74%) are in the market range and median zone of Structure A in each pay level. Specific jobs were assigned to Structure B when the market data indicated that a higher market range and median zone was necessary in order to effectively in recruit and retain staff in that particular job.
Why not just move the jobs in Structure B to the next higher level and keep all jobs and pay ranges in one structure?
The pay levels and structures are based upon different factors that are not interchangeable. The pay levels were assigned based upon comparisons of jobs within the University, using the evaluation criteria and level profile. This process grouped jobs that had similar attributes related to knowledge and skills, judgment, breadth and scope, etc. The structures represent external market salary rates and reflect that there is more market competition for some skills than others, and that we need to be able to respond to different market conditions in order to recruit and retain the variety of talent required at the University.
How can my job get moved to the higher pay structure? Is it expected that jobs assigned to Structure A will move to Structure B at some point in the future?
The market data and compensation plan will be refreshed each year to adjust to changes in salary rates and market conditions. It is not expected that job classifications assignments between the pay structures will change, unless there is a substantial shift in the salary market for a given job, as reflected by significant changes in the survey data.
The range maximums for Structure B are 20% above the median zone, not 25% as in Structure A. Why?
The maximum rates for Structure B market ranges were held to 20% in order to maintain an appropriate relationship with other market ranges and median zones in the compensation plan.
The range minimums for levels 2-4 in Structure A are not 25% below the median zone. Why?
The minimums for levels 2-4 were raised to recognize the local labor market and salary rates paid to people entering the professional and scientific classifications from the merit system.
What types of jobs are in levels 9 and 10 with an “open range”? Are there no limits?
These are jobs that will be market priced individually, such as Assistant/Associate Vice Presidents, Assistant Provost and Hospital Services Director. These high level positions have checks and balances to assure that the salary rates paid are appropriate. For example, many of these positions require specific Board of Regents approval of their compensation at the time of hire.
Is internal equity still a consideration in setting salaries?
The new compensation plan is based primarily upon the external market and not on internal equity as we have thought of it in the past, focused primarily upon education and years in position. The focus of the new plan is on relative levels of responsibility and performance, in the context of the market for similar skills. Individuals within a work unit should be paid salaries relative to their levels of responsibility and performance within the context of the market range. When responsibilities and performance levels of individuals within a budgetary unit are similar, their salaries should be similar as well within the resources available.
What consideration will be given to internal equity under the new compensation plan and pay practices?
In moving toward a more market based system, we are no longer focusing on internal equity based upon degrees or years in a position. The relationship of individual salary rates should instead be consistent with the relative level of job responsibilities and performance of individuals doing similar work in the same unit.
How will the salary of new hires be determined?
Salary rates for new hires will be considered similarly to the salaries of existing staff if above the salary minimum. Consideration is first upon the anticipated level of responsibility and performance, and then relative position in the appropriate market range. Consideration must be given to the salaries of other staff within the unit performing similar responsibilities and the resources available.
Does the hiring of a new staff member into a group at a higher salary trigger salary increases for existing staff?
No, however, the salary necessary to hire a new person, along with other salary market data could be the basis to consider the need for a market adjustment for existing staff on July 1. This analysis would also need to examine the relative levels of responsibility and performance among the individuals.
What factors will be considered in making future salary decisions?
Decisions on individual salaries will be focused on responsibilities, performance and then the relative position within the market range. In making decisions, your department will also need to consider the total resources available and how they need to use those resources strategically to support the salaries of all staff members and the objectives of the unit.
How will years of experience or additional education be recognized in the new compensation plan and pay practices?
The new compensation plan and pay structures emphasize job responsibilities and performance in the context of the salary market. Education and experience, whether at the University or elsewhere in your career, are generally going to be reflected in the level of responsibility you are able to perform and in your proficiency or level of performance of those responsibilities. Education and experience continue to be valued as they are reflected in the work performed by University P&S staff.
Will additional monies be set aside in the budget to fund market adjustments?
The compensation and classification redesign does not change the amount of money available to University organizations and departments to fund salaries. The redesign provides a new reference point in relation to market competitiveness, and is an opportunity to think differently in how the available funds are allocated strategically, both in terms of what is distributed on July 1 and what is used for salary adjustments during the year.
How will departments make decisions about how they use their salary increase dollars?
Departments will need to look at the level of responsibility, performance, and relative position into the market range for each individual employee, and then determine the best way to utilize the salary increase funds available to recognize individual performance and support recruitment and retention. In most cases, this will mean balancing competing interests with limited resources.
What would “compelling market analysis” justifying a market adjustment look like?
There is no specific definition for what is required to have a “compelling market analysis” to support a market adjustment increase. When faced with triggering events such as turnover or failed searches demonstrating difficulty in recruiting and retaining the talent needed, University Compensation and Classification will work with the employing unit to conduct a market analysis. Each situation will be examined individually, but in general terms there should be multiple sources of reliable information that would bring a reasonable person to conclude that the need for a salary increase exists . Our expectation is that a market based salary adjustment would be a relatively rare event.
Do individual salary adjustments impact coworkers in similar jobs within an area/group?
In most cases, no. If individual salary adjustments are made for reasons such as career advancement, promotions, career shifts, counter offers, interim appointments, or administrative differentials, those would only be specific to the individual and not to the coworkers around them. If an adjustment is based upon a compelling market analysis and the same market conditions apply to others in similar jobs within a group, we may need to consider increases for others impacted by the same market forces. However, given that our compensation plan and its market data comparisons will be refreshed each year, we expect this to be much less frequent than in the past.
With more emphasis on job performance in the compensation plan and pay practices, how will this be determined?
Human Resources developed more tools and support for staff members and supervisors in planning and documenting performance, so this documentation is available to support future salary decisions.
My position is entirely funded by grants and contracts. Can I still receive a lump sum over range performance award on July 1 or a Flex Pay award for exceptional performance?
Yes, University pay practices are applied without regard to the source of funds. However, your department would have to designate an alternative funding source for any lump sum payments, as they are generally not allowed under the terms of most grants and contracts.
How will changes in classification and/or compensation be initiated when my job responsibilities change?
A new career development tool is now available for you and your supervisor to document your career growth and job changes. This document can then be used to support pay adjustments and classification changes, when appropriate.
In documenting additional responsibilities to support career advancement or support a promotion, how far back can I go in identifying changes in my job?
If you completed a JIF (Job Information Form) earlier in the project, you can document changes since you completed that form in January 2010 (unless you have been reclassified under the old system between January 2010 and April 2011, in which case you can document changes from the point of reclassification). If you have assumed your position since that time, you would document changes from the time you started in your position. If you did not complete a JIF and have not changed positions since 2010, the documentation of job changes would begin from July 2011, when the new job classifications became effective.
I continue to think my job is not assigned to the correct classification. What can I do?
If you can document changes in your job using the time frames described above and your supervisor agrees, you can be considered for either a promotion or a career shift to another classification. This does not guarantee a change in classification, but it would be the way to receive consideration for your request.
How do I go about expanding my job responsibilities in my current job?
Talk with your supervisor about your career interests, and identify ways you can expand your responsibilities in your existing job to meet the needs of your unit. You might also identify goals to develop competencies (knowledge, skills and abilities) that will prepare you for other jobs at the University. To be recognized in your current job, your career development goals need to be agreed upon with your supervisor and be in alignment with unit needs. It would also be useful to discuss what degree of change would be needed in order to support a salary increase, a career advancement increase or promotion/ career shift resulting in a new classification.
Will promotions (known as reclassification in the old system) be less frequent and/or more difficult under the new classification system?
The new classification system recognizes variations in job responsibilities within a classification, and the option of a Career Advancement salary increase provides a way to recognize changes in scope and/or responsibilities without changing the job classification. This new flexibility may change the frequency of promotions or other changes in classification. We also believe that individuals have been correctly classified under the new system. That said, we recognize that there could be exceptions, and job changes are expected to occur over time. The updated procedures for career advancement, promotion and career shift provide processes to modify job classification assignments to be consistent with the work being performed.
How will a “working title” help if I don’t think my classification title is correct? The key areas of responsibility are correct for what I do; it is only the title that concerns me.
One feature of the new classification system is the option of a working title, which may better describe your role than your classification title. Individuals and departments will have the option of using working titles, subject to approval by your Senior HR Leader and consistent with uniform guidelines. We will not want working titles to misrepresent the position in any way, nor conflict with other titles used in the classification system or in the department or organization.
Do I have to use a working title with my new classification?
No. We believe that for the majority of people the new University classification title will be a more descriptive and useful title than under the previous classification system. However, in those situations where a more specific or descriptive working title would be useful, we want to make this option available. Specific guidelines and the process for review and approval of working titles are still being developed.
If I use a working title, will it have any impact upon my compensation?
Your pay range and market zone will be based upon your University job classification. Salary information about benchmark jobs will be used in building the compensation structure, but these comparisons are based upon descriptions of the duties and responsibilities, and not just a title, whether the University or the working title. A working title, in some cases, may help identify comparable jobs in survey data, but that would be the only use in relation to compensation.
Page Last Updated January 2012