University of Wisconsin–Madison

How to Progress in Pay

The University of Wisconsin–Madison supports employees who want to grow in their current role. While there are many ways for employees to expand their knowledge, skills, and qualifications, the information below focuses on how employees may progress in their current role through pay adjustments. Base pay increases progress employees through their salary range.

Employees are encouraged to have open conversations with their supervisors and local HR professionals to get more details on how the information below applies to their individual situation.

Titles and Pay

Most Academic Staff, University Staff, and Limited Appointee jobs at UW–Madison have assigned salary ranges. Employees are compensated for the qualifications they bring to a job. This may include knowledge, skills, abilities, experience, education, licenses, or certifications they can apply to their role.

Differences in Pay

Since employees bring unique skills and qualifications to a job, they may be paid differently even if they have the same job title. The university created salary ranges based on the job market. Each individual employee’s salary is set based on their unique qualifications and aligns with unit budgetary requirements. For example, an employee with little experience in their current title and who needs more guidance is generally paid closer to the minimum of the pay range. An employee who has deep knowledge of their current role and is more autonomous would typically be paid on the higher end of the range. These differences help explain why pay ranges exist. For more information visit How UW Compares Pay to the Market.

Pay Increases

Pay increases help to reward and retain a high performing workforce. Schools, colleges, and divisions manage their own workforce planning and salary decisions. While an adjustment may occur at any time, some types of adjustments are specific to an event. Increases are commonly coordinated with employee performance reviews. To learn more about different types of pay adjustments, visit Pay Increases.


Each school, college and division has a unique schedule for managing performance reviews. An employee may ask for, and be granted, a pay increase at any time during the year. However, salary conversations typically occur during formal or informal evaluation periods. An employee meets with their supervisor (or designee) two times during the evaluation period (12 months) for their midpoint evaluation check in and annual evaluation review.

During the midpoint and annual evaluation, the supervisor (or designee) meets with each employee to review their accomplishments, future goals, and/or areas of improvement. Supervisors are encouraged to review the salaries of their direct reports for their placement within the salary grade and recommend increases for employees who meet the criteria for salary adjustments. Employees are encouraged to discuss a salary review during these evaluations. These conversations are an opportunity to have an open conversation about pay and to answer questions.

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