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Staff Salary Study

Project Updates:

August 2016 update:

Results of Staff Wage/Salary Market Analysis

The study of staff wages and salaries that began in Fall 2015 has concluded. The project included objectives to develop a staff pay structure that 1) is externally competitive while internally equitable; 2) retains, attracts, and motivates highly skilled and qualified staff; 3) is financially responsible and sustainable; and 4) takes into consideration principles of a living wage.

You will recall the college hired a consultant to conduct a market survey of the wages and salaries of over 160 job descriptions. These 160-plus jobs are held by 267 staff employees. With the help of the consultant, we developed and placed the positions within a campus pay structure. To determine market rates, the consultant used survey data from geographically appropriate higher education organizations, consortium and peer groups, and specialty sources suited to some departments or positions. Using the market-based data, positions were placed in ranges marked by minimums, midpoints, and maximums. Salary ranges are designed to accommodate a wide range of skills, experiences, and performance. Individual pay will vary based on responsibilities, position-related qualifications, experience, education, and performance.

Once the new pay structure was completed, current staff wages and salaries were compared to the market-based ranges for each position. The comparison revealed:

  • 76 percent (203 of 267) of Beloit College staff fall below the midpoint of those ranges.
  • 70 of those 203 are paid less than the minimum of the market range corresponding to their jobs (26 percent of 267).
  • 24 percent (64 of 267) are paid at or above the market midpoint.
  • 5 percent (12 of 267) are paid at or above the market maximum.

Now that we know the dollar value of the gap between current pay and market pay we can develop a plan to address it. Similar to the efforts to improve faculty salaries, we will take a phased, multi-year approach. The first phase will be implemented in 2016-17 with two changes:

  • Bringing all positions within market range. The cost of bringing positions to the minimum is approximately $146,000 annually including fringe benefits. Seventy individuals who were identified as being paid under the minimum for their market range will receive an adjustment to their base pay this year.
  • Allocating $48,000 to address wage compression. Compression occurs when lower wages and salaries are increased and narrow the pay difference between newer staff and those who have been employed for a longer period of time in the same job, or between supervisor and staff.  Fifty-five individuals in such positions who have been employed for a number of years and who do not exceed the market midpoint will receive compression adjustments. 

These adjustments will be added to last year’s base wages and salaries and used to calculate this year’s annual increase. As budgets allow, we will continue to make adjustments based on the data we’ve developed. The current estimate to bring all position salaries to the midpoint is approximately $1.2 million including fringe benefits.


Feb. 2016:

The advisory committee has released an update on hitting its study deadlines. This breakout may be seen in this image.


Dec. 3, 2015:

The advisory committee hosted a number of events on campus with staff members and others. Below are some of what was shared (taken from the advisory committee's internal notes): 

Some of the Common Themes:

  • Transparency is very important.
  • There is a desire for more professional development and training.  In particular, to provide specific support and development opportunities to those who manage staff.
  • Although this project is focused on compensation, it is difficult to separate pay from benefits.
  • There are other factors (e.g. benefits, comradery, etc.) that attract employees and keep them at the College but compensation is a key component.
  • Pay adjustments that result from this project (e.g. structure adjustments) will be separate from the annual cost of living pay increases.  These structure adjustments will not take money away from the annual cost of living adjustments.
  • Some shared that they are feeling like they are doing more with fewer staff and wondering if staff will be added.  Adding to staff increases the budget which will make it more difficult to provide pay increases to existing staff.  Before new jobs are added, will be asked if that work can be eliminated, changed, made more efficient. 

Nov. 4, 2015 update:

Heather McLean, director of human resources, gave an update on the salary study process at the Conversation with the President townhall meeting in Moore Lounge, Pearsons Hall. McLean identified committee members, discussed the vendor assisting with the work, and outlined the stages of the work remaining to be completed. 


Oct. 23, 2015 update:

The college's weekly e-newsletter and website, The Terrarium, included a Staff Council update that included the following regarding the ongoing staff salary study.

Staff Compensation Study launched

Lori Rhead, vice president for human resources and facilities, updated the council on work underway to complete a staff ​salary/wage study in the coming months. The college, she said, has retained an experienced vendor, MRA, to assist with this work, which will be conducted over the coming months.The aim of the study is to help determine market rates for staff positions at the college. While such studies and data exist for faculty positions, the college has less up-to-date information for staff positions. Thus the study.

An advisory committee made up of staff members from across campus was introduced. This committee, Rhead said, will help "bring information back and forth" between MRA, the vendor, and the college; collect input and details on campus, communicate about the committee's work, and help develop a compensation philosophy to guide the work​. The study will "focus on positions, not people," Rhead said.

She also noted that, as a result of this study, there will be no pay reductions, but some positions will see a pay increase. She also noted that the "emphasis will be on setting a basic pay structure," not on reviewing benefits. The work will begin with an inventory of job descriptions. Implementation is planned for the 2016-17 academic year.


August 28, 2015 campus notification (from Lori Rhead, VP):

Over the course of the 2015-16 academic year, Beloit College will conduct a comprehensive study of staff wages and salaries.  This will include a review of staff positions, job descriptions and current wages and salaries measured against a selected set of comparable and competitive data.

A staff advisory committee has been selected to work with HR and a consultant to provide input on the principles, policies and practices relevant to the responsibilities of college staff and their pay and to help determine a communication strategy for the process.  A request for proposal has been issued to hire a consultant with experience working with academic compensation markets.  Work of this nature generally takes 6-9 months.  Our hope is to have a consultant on campus by early October and begin program implementation in the 2016-17 academic year.

With input from the advisory committee and human resources, the consultant will develop a compensation philosophy that articulates Beloit College’s strategy and guiding principles for how pay will be determined, managed and communicated.  Key deliverables will include:

  • An objective market analysis of Beloit College staff jobs in appropriate markets
  • A program that is easy to understand and administer
  • An achievable implementation plan
  • A communication process for implementation

Members of the staff advisory committee will work with Lori Rhead, Laurie Stickelmaier, Heather McLean and the consultants.  The process will include input from staff and progress reports to Staff Council.  If you have questions related to the project, please contact me at rheadl@beloit.edu. Taskforce members are listed here.

This study was also a topic of discussion at the Aug. 24, 2015 senior staff meeting, as was detailed here.