Staff Compensation Structure Project

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the staff compensation structure project?

As announced in August 2022, the Department of Human Resources, in collaboration with a project team composed of key university partners, is leading a Staff Compensation Structure Project aimed at assessing compensation practices to best position the university to meet its strategic goals. This project examines several components that make up the university’s overall staff compensation structure, including our compensation philosophy, job classification frameworks (including job families and job leveling), job titling methodology, labor market data, salary structure, and salary administration policies, practices, and governance. As the project progresses, a compensation dictionary will be shared to provide more clarity on the meaning of compensation terminology and why these concepts are important.

What job groups are included in this project?

The project involves the review of part- and full-time staff jobs. Staff jobs represented by a collective bargaining agreement and faculty jobs are not included in this project.

Why is Marquette doing this staff compensation structure project now?

Best practice is to review an organization’s compensation structures periodically (i.e., approximately every 10 years) to ensure it continues to meet the dynamic needs of their workforce. External subject matter experts in compensation are key partners in these initiatives. HR initiated discussions with consultants specializing in higher education compensation in 2021 and launched the project in 2022.

Who is the consulting firm we are using? What is their role?

To bring third-party expertise and objectivity to the project, Human Resources has engaged leading higher education compensation and benefits consultant firm Segal. Segal is the largest privately held benefits and actuarial consulting firm with over 1,000 employees in the U.S. and Canad Many higher education institutions, including AJCU and other peer public and private universities, have used Segal for their compensation projects. Marquette’s project benefits from Segal’s specialized expertise, data and experiences, along with their objectivity and perspective.

Who, within the university, is part of the working teams involved in the study?

HR working team

    • Claudia Paetsch (vice president for human resources), project sponsor
    • Lynn Mellantine (assistant vice president of human resources)
    • Jen Burns (director of compensation)
    • Lisa Ploszaj (senior human resources generalist)

Stakeholders and partners that provide campus-wide perspective, input, and participation.

    • Eric Benjamin (director of applications, ITS)
    • Steve Celichowski (business director, Opus College of Engineering)
    • Dave Clark (executive associate dean of the College of Business Administration and professor of economics)
    • Joya Crear (assistant vice president of student affairs)
    • Mike Jahner (director, facilities management and university engineer, facilities planning and management)
    • Kelly Hicks (senior director of administrative services, university advancement)
    • Ed Sanchez (department head of library technology services, Raynor Memorial Library)
    • Chris Stolarski (associate director of university communication, university relations)
    • Carol Trecek (director of continuing ed and alumni relations, dental school; Staff Senate chair)

Will this project involve changing a job classification to or from exempt/non-exempt? What makes some jobs exempt versus non-exempt?

This project will not involve re-classification of jobs. A classification of exempt or non-exempt is determined by the terms of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); it is not by preference or choice. The job responsibilities, compensable factors (i.e., knowledge, skills, etc.), salary, etc. are all factors that are carefully reviewed before determining the appropriate classification for each job at Marquette.

Will this project result in a pay increase for staff employees?

The purpose of the project is to modernize our staff compensation structure so Marquette can hire and retain the talent it needs to meet its strategic goals and mission. At its conclusion, the project may identify areas where adjustments to some salaries/pay rates or titles are needed but any such changes should be considered outcomes, not goals. Further, and consistent with other Marquette compensation related projects, financial/budgetary considerations will factor into implementation planning.

What is a market study?

A market study is the process of comparing how an organization pays its employees against how other comparable universities/organizations pay their employees for similar jobs in similar geographic locations.

What are market peers/comparables and how are Marquette’s determined?

Market peers/comparables are other universities/organizations that we compete with to hire for similar jobs. However, while we compete with many different organizations, they’re not all peers. Rather, we compare ourselves with organizations that are like us in industry, size, geography, and/or revenue. These organizations include, but are not limited to, higher education.

Working with Segal, we reviewed universities that have similar student populations, staff and faculty populations, expenses, research, etc. This review defined our peer groups for both a regional scope and a national scope. With Segal’s assistance, we also re-defined the local, regional and national scope for non-higher educational organizations that we view as market peers/comparables.

What is labor market data?

Labor market data is the information we gather from surveys to compare and provide a competitive salary or rate for a similar job within our labor market. The data includes information such as job title, job description, base salary, scope, etc. We participate in and purchase labor market survey data that contains jobs that are the same or like our staff jobs. The surveys we currently participate in include the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) and

Although we cannot make the proprietary market data purchased from vendors publicly available, we will continue to review market data annually and adjust the salary structure if we’ve fallen out of alignment with market peers and/or our compensation program objectives.

How is labor market data used in this compensation project?

Labor market data from valid and reliable sources are being used to update our salary structure. By comparing compensation of our jobs with similar jobs in the labor market, we will create a market-informed salary structure that allows us to attract and retain our workforce. Once the project is completed, we will continue to use labor market data to ensure our salary structure remains market competitive.

What is a job family?

A job family is a grouping of jobs doing similar work based on function and primary duties as documented in the written job description. A job family is not department- or unit- specific and can be found across the university. Since jobs cannot be in more than one family, they are placed into the family that most closely aligns to the primary focus of the role. Most departments will be composed of jobs in different job families.

How many job families will we have?

At this time, 21 job families have been defined. Changes may occur over time as new jobs and bodies of work develop at the university. Below is a sample of some current job families:

  • Enrollment Management, Admissions and Financial Aid
  • External Relations, Communications and Marketing
  • Financial Operations and Management
  • Health, Wellness and Clinical Services
  • Student Support, Advising and Career Development

How are job families used?

Job families will provide employees with clear and consistent information to help identify career development opportunities across the university. Job family information supports our efforts to ensure the most accurate market and benchmarking data, while providing additional job related information for both internal and external candidates.

How were jobs with a combination of responsibilities in different job families assessed?

The majority of the job responsibilities as documented in the most current job description on file with HR were used to determine the job family.

Job families for each specific job were reviewed with senior leaders and the project team to ensure agreement and alignment across the university.

How do I access the job family information for my position?

Programming is currently underway to add job family data to an employee’s MyJob self-service information. In addition, job families will be identified in new job postings for staff positions.

What types of policies will be designed?

At the end of this project, salary administration policies will be created to provide definitions around various terminology and concepts to ensure shared understanding across the university. In this specific case, guidelines around hiring ranges and offers, what is considered a promotion or transfer and how those are handled, how merit increases are determined, and what the university does to ensure that market and salary ranges remain up to date will be included. These policies are designed using best practices within the industry and with an understanding of Marquette’s culture.

How will you keep us informed as the project continues?

We will continue to use various communication channels as new information is available, including via the University Leadership Council, Staff Senate, LEAD meetings, this regularly updated FAQ and Marquette Today updates.

When is the project expected to be completed?

The goal is to complete the project in spring 2023 with university-wide communication and implementation to follow.