Job Title and Total Compensation Study begins

June 7, 2016

Recognizing that the University of Wisconsin’s most important resource is people, UW–Madison is collaborating with the UW System to begin a redesign of the current job titling and compensation structure.

On July 1, 2015, UW–Madison began implementing a new personnel system. This new system, “HR Design,” was a unique opportunity to develop a more efficient and responsive human resources system tailored expressly to the needs of UW–Madison. The next step in this redesign process is to evaluate the job title and total compensation system in order to ensure the university can continue to attract and retain the best talent.

The joint UW–Madison and UW System Title and Total Compensation Study is a comprehensive effort to develop a new system of titles to meet the needs of all UW System institutions, including the complex and unique needs of UW–Madison.

There are currently more than 1,000 distinct job titles across System campuses, nested in five employee categories. This large number of job titles is excessive and redundant, causes confusion and is not well understood. Furthermore, the existing job titles do not always accurately reflect job duties, and total compensation (defined as direct pay plus the value of benefits) may not consistently reflect the job markets where we compete.

The existing UW job title and compensation structures are a combination of two personnel structures (state government “classified” civil service and the UW “unclassified” service). The structures for classified employees (now called “university staff” and no longer part of the state classified service) evolved over many years through collective bargaining and state-led personnel management surveys. As a result, the current structure is not tailored to the needs of higher education.

Moreover, the last market comparison the UW System conducted for unclassified salary ranges was in 1986. University staff salaries have never had a comprehensive evaluation.

The study will be designed to develop clearer and more competitive job titles and compensation structures, ensure job titles accurately reflect duties and responsibilities, build career progression where that makes sense, and enhance recruitment and retention. The goal is for UW–Madison and the other UW System campuses to have sustainable methods to maintain market-informed job title and compensation structures that will be flexible to meet future needs.

The study will cover the entire UW System, including UW–Madison and UW-Milwaukee, the two major research institutions, as well as the 11 four-year comprehensive universities, 13 freshman-sophomore institutions and the statewide UW-Extension. Work will include reviewing the functions of more than 30,000 employees across the UW System. Specifically, the study will cover three areas:

  • Job titles, compensation structures, and related labor market data for academic, limited, university staff and student assistants.
  • Employee benefits structures for all UW employees (except for state-administered programs that System employees will continue to be covered by, including retirement and health insurance).
  • Employee-leave programs for faculty and staff.

Due to the broad scope and complexity of the Title and Total Compensation Study, the process will take approximately two years. A key initial step will be to issue a “request for proposal” to hire an experienced job titling and compensation consulting firm with technical expertise and higher education experience to support the substantial internal resources devoted to this review.

Executive Sponsors

Raymond Cross, President, University of Wisconsin System

Rebecca Blank, Chancellor, UW–Madison

David L. Miller, Vice President, Administration, UW System Administration

Michael Lehman, Interim Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration, UW–Madison

Advisory Council Co-Chairs

Mark Mone, Chancellor, UW-Milwaukee

Sarah Mangelsdorf, Provost, UW–Madison

Planning Team

Shenita Brokenburr, Sr. Associate Vice President, Office of Human Resources and Workforce Diversity, and UW Service Center

Bob Lavigna, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Director of HR, Office of Human Resources, UW–Madison

Mark Walters, Sr. Director of Operations, Office of Human Resources, UW–Madison

Margo Lessard, Senior Special Assistant and Interim Director, Office of Human Resources and Workforce Diversity

David J. Miller, Director of Human Resources, UW-Eau Claire

Table: Job title advisory committee members list