University of Wisconsin–Madison

Terms & Concepts

TTC Terms & Concepts PDF


Benchmark Job A job whose major responsibilities and requirements are common in the market. These jobs are typically included in salary surveys and have reliable market data readily available year after year.
Business Title A title that provides more description to the Title of Record by providing detail about the specifics of an individual position within the organization or the type of work performed (e.g. Working Title).
Career Path A career type characterized by unique responsibilities. The identified career paths UW are Organizational Contributor and Manager.
Career Lattice A representation of the series of moves or positions that create an employee’s career path. This series can include vertical, lateral, or diagonal movement within the job framework.
Complexity of Work The duties, the degree of autonomy, and the scope of responsibilities. The assessment of the level of complexity is based on the work and not on the incumbent.
Compa-Ratio A mathematical, comparative (“compa”) ratio that expresses how an employee’s pay rate compares to the midpoint of their range or market: Compa-ratio = pay rate/range midpoint. It is expressed as a percentage or decimal. A compa-ratio of 100% or 1.00 means an employee is paid at or 100%- matched to midpoint. Values above 100% or 1.00 mean an employee is paid above midpoint; values below 100% or 1.00 mean an employee is paid below midpoint.
Compensation Philosophy A written statement that lays out an organization’s guiding principles for its compensation program.
Compensation Surveys Collections of data on prevailing market rates and trends. Surveys report data by industry, field of work, financial scope or size, geography, etc. Surveys are conducted by third-party professional organizations.
Complexity of Work The duties, the degree of autonomy, and the scope of responsibilities. The assessment of the level of complexity is based on the work and not on the incumbent.
Demotion The movement of an employee into a job that is assigned to a lower salary grade than the employee’s current job.
Equity The quality of being fair or impartial. Within compensation, this is the practice of ensuring employees are being paid fairly without regard for race, color, gender, religion, sex, national origin, age, and/or disability for similar work performed. Please see the Equal Pay Act for more information.
Exempt The term that refers to jobs that are not covered by the FLSA (i.e., “exempted” from the law). Exempt employees are paid a set salary for defined responsibilities and are expected to fulfill the duties of their jobs regardless of hours work required. Incumbents in exempt jobs are not eligible to receive overtime compensation.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) A Federal law that sets the minimum wage as well as other work rules, and guaranteed overtime pay for work beyond 40 hours a week for jobs covered by the law. The law includes specific “tests” to determine whether a job will be covered by the law (“non-exempt”) or not covered (“exempt”). These 10/29/19 tests consider job duties, not characteristics of the incumbent (such as education, experience, skills, or performance).
Job Classification The process of reviewing jobs based on an objective analysis of knowledge, skills and responsibilities of each job, and assigning jobs to an organization’s job framework.
Job Framework Organizes jobs at UW-Madison into job groups and job sub-groups.
Job Group & Job Sub-group A job group and sub-group is an overall grouping of jobs where work performed is of similar nature.
Job Levels Variations in the degree of jobs, such as the differences between the entry, intermediate and senior levels, based on differences in scope, organization impact, complexity of work, independence and supervision, and/or management responsibilities.
Job Responsibilities A series of statements indicating what the major work responsibilities are and why they are performed. The responsibility statements support the job summary and form the basis for development of specific objectives or performance standards
Job Summary A clear, concise statement explaining the major functions of the position. The job summary describes the overall end-result of the work that the job produces and why it exists.
Job Title A title assigned to a job that describes the job’s roles and responsibilities at the University. Job titles should be descriptive of the work and consistent with general market practices.
Lateral Move The movement of an employee into a job that is assigned to the same salary grade as the employee’s current job.
Level of Knowledge, Experience and Abilities The knowledge, education, skills, experience or abilities required for a job.
Level of Supervision The types of supervision exercised and received. A job may include more than one type of supervision exercised or received among different responsibilities
Local HR Refers to College, School, Divisional and/or departmental human resources offices
Market Data An organization’s stance on employee pay relative to market. The University strives to set all eligible employees’ salaries to approximate a competitive range–defined as +/-15% of midpoint.
Market Position A concise description of work being represented in a job found in a salary or compensation survey.
Market Salary Benchmarking The linkage of jobs to the market by analyzing and comparing standard job descriptions to the salary survey benchmark.
Market Title The benchmark or thumbnail job description in a salary survey.
Midpoint Sum of the range minimum and maximum, divided by 2.
Non-Benchmark Job A job that is either not common in the market or that is not included in salary surveys. Jobs that have been tailored to meet specific needs of the institution or a department, or to align with the expertise of an individual are example of non-benchmark jobs.
Non-Exempt The term that refers to jobs that are covered by the FLSA (i.e., “not exempted” from the law) and are subject to all of its’ provisions. Employees 10/29/19 are required to account for time worked on an hourly and fractional hourly basis and are paid for overtime hours.
Organizational Impact The quantitative and qualitative impacts or changes of the work performed to the department, division, college or institution.
Parity The quality or state of being equal or equivalent. Within compensation, parity is the practice of ensuring appropriate salary relationships are maintained for staff within the same classification or related classifications, as imbalances or issues may arise with new hires, differences in pay practices across departments or divisions, etc.
Pay Range Structure A series of pay ranges comprised of a minimum, midpoint, and maximum.
Position Description (PD) A description of a specific job as it relates to an employee (i.e., position), which is based primarily on a standard job description. Position descriptions are used for many purposes including recruitment classification and performance evaluation.
Position in Range (PIR) A mathematical calculation that expresses how an employee’s pay compares to the pay range and how far into a pay range an employee’s pay stands. PIR = (Pay Rate –Range Minimum) ÷ (Range Maximum –Range Minimum) A range penetration of 0% means an employee is paid at range minimum; a range penetration of 50% means an employee is half way through the range–at midpoint; a range penetration of 100% means an employee is paid at range maximum.
Progression Advancement within a salary grade due to performance, increased knowledge, skills, abilities, years of experience, certifications/ licenses/degrees, and/or other elements that add value to an employee’s ability to perform his/her job and ability to impact his/her department, division, and/or institution.
Promotion The movement of an employee into a job that is assigned to a higher salary grade than the employee’s current job due to the acceptance of a higher set of job responsibilities.
Reclassification The assignment of a filled position to a different title and standard job description based changes to the duties or responsibilities of a position or the attainment of specified education or experience by the incumbent such that the duties performed are better described by a new title. Reclassification can result in an upward, lateral, or downward movement for the position.
Salary Administration Guidelines Guidelines that ensure that salaries are determined by using a consistent approach across the University and are aligned with the compensation program’s design and intent.
Salary Grade A grouping of jobs based on the alignment with the job framework and market value. Each salary grade has an associated range of pay that has been designed to align with the market and accommodate a wide variety of skill and experience levels of incumbents
Salary Maximum The highest rate of pay within a pay range.
Salary Midpoint The center of a pay range.
Salary Minimum The lowest rate of pay in a pay range.
Salary Percentile An indication of what percentage of individuals in a certain job and scope are at or below a given wage.
Standard Job Description (SJD) A general set of responsibilities, without regard to any specific employee, that describes work performed, and role and impact to the organization. Standard job descriptions are primarily used for market pricing and salary structure design and maintenance.
Standard Job Title A title that clearly describes the work that is done in the standard job description role.
Thumbnail Job Description A concise description of work being represented in a job found in a salary or compensation survey.
Title of Record An employee’s official job title. It is the title associated with the employee’s standard job description.