Classification and Compensation Project

Effective May 1, 2024: The university has implemented a pay change transaction freeze that will take effect for certain pay transactions from May 1 through Sept. 13. Learn more about the pay change freeze.

The Classification and Compensation project is foundational to the university's strategic goal of enhancing its position as an employer of choice. Being an employer of choice means ensuring each individual feels valued, facilitating flexibility that serves both personal and university needs, and connecting faculty and staff members to the U of A's land-grant mission.


Project Goals
  • A transparent job classification architecture and competitive compensation structure that attracts and retains top talent, rewards exceptional performance, and increases employee engagement.
  • Clear career pathways for growth, development and potential progression.
  • Accessible tools and development resources that support and inspire employees to reach career aspirations.
Benefits for Employees and the University
  • Job families and job profiles for staff roles that better represent responsibilities, based on input from subject matter experts across campus.
  • Enhanced organization of positions into logical job groupings to compare and ensure pay equity among positions with similar responsibilities.
  • Greater clarity and efficiency of processes and administration of compensation.

Career Streams & Career Levels

Staff positions are categorized into three career streams based generally on degree of responsibility.

A series of levels will be attributed to these career streams. Career Levels are numbered sets of work dimensions that define career progression toward more job complexity, knowledge and responsibility. 

(OC1 - OC3)

Operational Contributors are usually hourly. This career stream provides organizational support or service (administrative or clerical) or does “hands-on” technical or craft work.

(PC1 - PC4)

Professional Contributors are typically salaried, except perhaps at entry level. This career stream requires specialized knowledge or skills, often gained through postsecondary education, and oversees design and application of processes, programs or policies.

(M1 - M5)

Manager & Leaders oversee an area of responsibility while directing the work of employees. This career stream manages strategy and policy development.



Defining the Market

Market Definition

The university generally defines its labor market for staff 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 study, the university used a 60/40 blend of higher education and general industry data to determine the market.

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.

Peer Benchmark Institutions

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.