University of Wisconsin–Madison

Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not addressed in Frequently Asked Questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Title and Total Compensation Study team at the UW–Madison Office of Human Resources.

1. About the Study

What is the Title and Total Compensation Study?

The Title and Total Compensation Study is a joint effort between University of Wisconsin System (UWS) and UW-Madison. The objectives of the study include:

  • Develop clearer and more competitive job title and compensation structures
  • Ensure job titles accurately reflect duties and responsibilities
  • Provide sustainable methods to maintain market-informed title and compensation structures
  • Build in career progression where it makes sense
  • Include job titles and compensation structures for academic, university, and limited staff
  • Review compensation for graduate students
  • Enhance recruitment and retention
How will the study benefit employees at UW–Madison

The Title and Total Compensation Study will result in relevant and market-informed titles, pay scales, and benefits/work-life and leave structures.

  • Employees will see how their job and title compares to positions across campus and at other organizations.
  • Employees will have clear guidelines to make informed choices about advancing in their careers at UW–Madison
  • Managers will have tools to make informed decisions about pay or promotional opportunities for their employees
Will the study impact my pay and job security?

No employees will lose their jobs and base pay will not be reduced as a result of the study. The study results will provide guidance on how to address market issues over time.

Who is guiding the study at UW–Madison?

Interconnected Project Teams make up the UW–Madison project structure for the Title and Total Compensation Study. The UW–Madison project teams are working in conjunction with UW System and Mercer Consulting with the strategic guidance of an Advisory Council.

How long will it take to complete the study?

There are five phases of the Title and Total Compensation Study. The Study timeline goes from February 2017 to March 2019.

Who makes the final decisions about adopting the major design components of the study?

The final decision makers for each major design component are the Executive Sponsors and the Board of Regents.

2. Organization of Jobs

What is a job framework?

A Job Framework is the overall organization of jobs for administering compensation and managing career progressions. Components include job families, sub-families and career levels.

A Job Family is a group of jobs that involve similar work and require similar training, skills, knowledge, and expertise.

A Sub-family is a smaller group of jobs within a larger job family. Sub-families describe specialized functions.

A Career Level represents the hierarchical position of a job and is used to differentiate jobs based on predefined criteria.

Learn more about job families:
Job Families Handout (pdf)

Will my job duties change as a result of the study?

No, you will work with your manager late in the first quarter of 2018 to enter your job duties into an online system and finalize how your position maps to the job framework.

What if my job includes duties in more than one job family?

Your job can only be in one job family. If you have duties that are in more than one family, you need to determine your primary job duties by asking all of these questions:

  • Why does my position exist?
  • What are my most important duties?
  • What duties take up most of my time?
Do job families cross boundaries between colleges, schools and divisions?

Jobs in a job family may not be unique to just one college, school, or division. For example, an Accountant job may be in multiple colleges, schools, or divisions.

Will there still be both University Staff and Academic Staff titles/positions?

The elimination of University Staff and Academic Staff positions is out of scope for this study. The job framework and salary and promotional guidelines will be consistent at the end of the study and promote transparency of pay practices across UW–Madison.

Will University Staff and Academic Staff have the same opportunities for progression/promotion?

As a part of this study we hope to reduce the hindrances to career advancement. One of the issues that exists today is that career mobility may be limited by the differences in our employment and leave practices between Academic Staff and University Staff. We are too early in the study to know what changes will be proposed to address these issues.

Will the criteria for advancement change?

Yes, it will change. However, the study will ensure that the number of levels corresponds to typical career steps and progressions for particular job families.

3. Compensation

Will my job be compared to relevant market data?

We will identify appropriate market data for different positions. We will typically choose market data from organizations which we tend to provide talent to UW–Madison or attract talent away from UW–Madison.

Will my base pay increase if it is below the market salary range?

It is difficult to answer this question until we know how large the discrepancies are between the market and current employee base pay. If your pay is lower than the minimum of the salary range, then your pay will be increased to the minimum over a specified period. The Vice-Chancellor of Finance and Administration is committed to finding additional funds to support competitive market pay for our employees, a goal in the strategic framework.

Will the mapping of my current job to the new job framework result in a base pay increase if I’m at a higher job level?

We will develop a new job framework (which includes job families, sub-families, and levels) in Phase Two and map your current job to this new job framework based on current job duties. In general, the mapping of positions to the new job framework will not result in a pay increase. However, the study may uncover some misclassification of employees in the current system. In these situations, OHR compensation and titling will work with the appropriate local HR representative to determine the needed adjustments.

Will the study impact pending promotions or other rate adjustments or can they proceed as usual?

Promotions and rate adjustments can proceed as usual until systems and procedures begin to change during the implementation phase.

4. Benefits

Will my benefits change as a result of the study?

Benefits provided by the State of Wisconsin are out-of-scope for the project. The review of total compensation occurs in Phase Four. It is too early to tell what might change. In general UW–Madison has a practice of minimizing negative impacts to employees when transitioning to new systems.