Key Definitions

Key Term Definition
Benchmark Job A job whose major responsibilities and requirements are found in the market. These jobs are typically included in salary surveys and have reliable market data readily available year after year
Bring-to-Minimum A mandatory raise that an employee receives when adjustments in a pay range cause their salary to fall below the minimum of the range. “Bring-to-Minimum” raises the salary up to the bottom of the range
Career Path

A career path is a series of jobs an employee moves through to reach short-term and long-term career goals

Career Level

A set of numbered work dimensions within career streams that defines career progression toward more job complexity, knowledge and responsibility.

Career Stream A progression that describes the nature of work being performed.  Examples of career streams include:
  • Operational Contributor
  • Professional Contributor
  • Manager & Leader 
Compensation Compensation includes the combined value of an employee’s salary, benefits, retirement contributions, qualified tuition reduction and more
Incumbent Review A review by the compensation team that is required when an existing employee’s job duties and responsibilities change significantly (typically defined as 30% or more), or in a way that affects how the job is mapped
Job Family A group of jobs involving similar types of work and requiring similar training, skills, knowledge and expertise. The job family concept helps organize related jobs for purposes of pay, career progression and performance management Examples include:
  • Human Resources; Information Technology; Research 
Job Sub-family A sub-set of a job family, usually more specialized in nature. Examples include:
  • Compensation, Benefits (sub-families within Human Resources)
  • Computer Operations, Systems Administration (sub-families within Information Technology)
Job Profiles

High-level definitions of a job’s purpose, responsibilities, and qualifications


The university generally defines its labor market for non-faculty based on the type of work. Comparisons may include similarly situated peer universities, general industry, and private sector institutions. Market geographies (i.e., local, regional, or national) are determined based on where the university generally draws talent. For highly specialized or unique positions, other markets and industry sources may also be considered and used if there are specific needs and requirements for doing so.

For this project, the university developed an academic peer set of 84 institutions using Carnegie Classifications criteria: public universities, doctoral granting universities, R1 research level institutions. Those excluded from the set include institutions located in the pacific and middle atlantic census regions.

Market Adjustment Refers to a salary adjustment that is made to recognize compensation changes in the marketplace for a specific job based on market analysis updated regularly to ensure competitiveness
Market Range Target

The university aspires to provide competitive compensation in the market in which the university competes for talent and benefits that are market competitive, inclusive of complying with federal and state requirements.

For this project, employees are placed within their assigned pay range based on their time in position contributing to the relationship to market midpoint. For example, an employee who has served 10 years at the U of A will be placed closer to the pay range midpoint than an employee with five years of service with all other factors being equal if they are both performing well in their role.

Pay Range A pay range is a span of salaries offered to employees for specific positions. Pay ranges include a minimum, midpoint, and maximum for each job.
Pay Grade A pay range to which jobs are assigned based on the job role, impact and complexity requirements, and the market value of benchmark jobs. Pay ranges have been designed to accommodate a wide variety of skill and experience levels, from novice to expert, in a job
Working Title

A title that refers to a specific department where an employee is working, or a specific type of work, and is used in job postings, employees’ signature line, business cards, etc.  Examples include:

  • Director, Center for Academic Excellence
  • Analyst, Workforce Systems

These may differ from what are known as State Titles, which are the official names of positions that the university refers to when working with state government.