Staff Compensation Structure

Staff Compensation Structure

The University is committed to providing a market-based compensation system to meet the needs of all areas of the University. The system allows the Compensation team to easily and accurately benchmark staff positions to ensure market-based pay levels while also providing consistency and standardization of data.

  • Job Family: Includes a group of jobs in which the work performed is of a similar nature. It is a macro grouping based on a segmentation and represents a concentration of positions in the University. 
  • Job Sub-Family: The categorization and organization of jobs by function. 
  • Job Level: Describes each level of work performed with regard to criteria such as scope, complexity, impact, supervisor responsibilities, knowledge, skills, and experience. Levels may be specific to each job family or cross families.  
  • Job Title: The grouping of positions performing similar work. With standardized titles and titling conventions, jobs facilitate benchmarking and equity reviews. 

Staff Compensation Structure Benchmarking

Additional compensation structure resources are available:


Job Descriptions and University Titles

The job description is a general statement of the major responsibilities and job duties. Each University of Pittsburgh job will have a standardized job description that is developed and maintained by the Compensation Department. These job descriptions will be housed in a library that can be accessed by management and employees. Supervisors and hiring managers are responsible for ensuring that their employees are assigned to the job that best fits the position in their area.  
University Titles: Selected in a manner and format that will be consistent across the University and will match to titles that can be matched to the market. This convention will facilitate the ability to benchmark jobs, create an understanding of potential career paths, and ensure equity across the University.


Job Requisitions and Working Titles 

Working Titles: Clearly define roles and may be the same as the University title and evaluation. At the discretion of the employing unit, working titles may be created and used for a position. When creating working titles, remember the following: 

  • Titles should be representative of the accountabilities and responsibilities of the job, not the individual.
  • Titles should appropriately represent the scope, level, and supervisory responsibilities of the role. For example, managers should not have director titles. Individuals should not be titled or referred to as managers if their job duties do not meet those specifications as this practice leads to incorrect perceptions.
  • Keep titles short.
  • Avoid titles so specific that they must be changed each time the job duties change. 
  • Ensure titles are realistic in relation to the work performed. Internal and external applicants should be able to recognize the work that role is performing. 

Job Requisition: During the recruitment process, departments may include additional details about the position in the department details section of the job requisition. Departments may also include information such as essential functions, physical effort, preferred education, and experience requirements.  


Market-Based Pay Structure and Review

Each job at the University of Pittsburgh has been assigned a pay grade with a corresponding pay range which is developed as a result of the annual market pay survey review. Pay range is defined as the range of pay rates, from minimum to maximum, established for a pay grade. The pay range is typically used to determine individual employee pay rates.  

The Vice Chancellor of Human Resources reviews and recommends adjustments to the pay structure annually. This adjustment will take into consideration market and economic factors. If deemed necessary, pay structure adjustments will be effective on July 1 to coincide with the beginning of the University’s fiscal year.  
Information about annual increases related to the pay structure review will be addressed in the annual increase guidelines that are published yearly.  
The University of Pittsburgh conducts a market survey review of all jobs to determine the University’s competitiveness with the external market in which it competes for job candidates. Market is defined as the recruiting environment for each position which may be local, regional, or national.  

Market Pricing Guidelines 

The University of Pittsburgh adheres to the following principles when conducting market pricing: 

  • Market data is sourced from credible published surveys with a representative number of organizations reporting data. 
  • Matches are selected based on the content and essential functions of the position and not on the title alone. 
  • Survey comparison markets are aligned with the talent pool or labor market for the position. 
  • Market data is collected from both higher education and general industry survey sources. 

How Jobs are Assigned to Pay Structure – Benchmark and Non-Benchmark Jobs 

Criteria for Assigning Benchmark Jobs to a Range: Positions are assigned to pay grades based on their market value. Many positions at the University of Pittsburgh are benchmark positions, meaning that positions with similar responsibilities and skill requirements are typical in the market, and reliable pay data can be found in published surveys. The internal equity of all assigned positions is reviewed before finalizing grade assignments. 
Criteria for Assigning Non-Benchmark Jobs to a Range: Non-benchmark jobs include positions that do not have an exact match in published surveys. Jobs are compared by considering: 

  • Knowledge and Skills: The formal and informal expertise needed to perform the duties of the position on a day-to-day basis.  
  • Experience: The amount of prior experience in the same or similar position required to perform the duties. 
  • Autonomy: How much supervision the position requires. 
  • Influence: The impact that a position has on the department or organization. 
  • Scope of Responsibility: The breadth or range of the position's operational influence within the institution. For example, University-wide, division, or department scope.  
  • Contribution Level of the Job: Individual contributor or supervisory responsibilities. 


Externally Funded Positions  

Externally funded positions (i.e., grant-funded, shared-funded, etc.) falling under the scope of this system must adhere to the same guidelines and procedures as other positions at the University unless approved by the Vice Chancellor, Human Resources, and Senior Leadership.  

University Employees Covered by Collective Bargaining Agreements 

University staff members covered by collective bargaining agreements should refer to the appropriate salary/pay articles in their contracts.