University of Wisconsin–Madison

Glossary of Terms

This Glossary of Terms is a working draft to be refined throughout the Title and Total Compensation Study. We will maintain the most current version on this page.

Download Glossary of Terms (pdf)


Benchmark job – a job whose major responsibilities and requirements are commonly found in the market and which can be reliably benchmarked in salary surveys

Career Stream – career type within the organization characterized by unique responsibilities. The identified career streams for UW are Organizational Contributor and Manager (which generally includes jobs with significant people-management and/or functional responsibility).

Comparison market – a grouping of organizations whose data is used for compensation benchmarking purposes. Typically there will be multiple comparison markets, tailored to the jobs/job families and reflective of the labor markets for talent.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – a Federal law that sets the minimum wage rate, as well as other work rules and overtime pay.  Whether a job is covered by the FLSA provisions (“non-exempt”) or no (“exempt”) is determined by a comparison of the job’s duties to a series of specific tests defined by the Act.

Function – The highest level in the organization requiring broadly similar technical skills and abilities. Examples of functions include Finance, Engineering, or Human Resources.

Hybrid job – a job that combines responsibilities typically found in more than one discrete survey job.

Implement – to provide a plan, procedure or guidance to ensure completion or fulfillment of

Job description – a summary of the most important features of a job, including the general nature (duties and responsibilities) and scope and impact (i.e., skill, effort and responsibility) of the work performed.

Job Family – a group of jobs involving similar types of work and requiring similar training, skills, knowledge, and expertise.  Job families help organize related jobs for purposes of salary, career progression and performance management

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

Job Level – represents the hierarchical position of a job within a career stream and is used to differentiate jobs based on predefined criteria. Also known as Career Level.

Job Level Descriptors – describe the characteristics of each job level and articulate the increasing responsibilities and requirements of jobs. This serves as a tool to evaluate jobs as well as a create the foundation for career progression.  The definitions for each of the job levels is consistent across job families.

Job Level Guide – the overall document describing levels of jobs within each career stream and level

Job title – the descriptive name for the role, responsibilities and requirements of a job. Job titles should clearly convey the role of the job and reflect market practices

Labor market – a market in which the University competes for talent. May also be called Talent Market

Market pricing – the process of determining the market rates for jobs in a specific talent market using a comparison of job responsibilities and requirements

Market rate – the competitive pay level for a job in the marketplace, based on an analysis of compensation survey data

Non-benchmark job – a job that cannot be reliably benchmarked because it is not included in salary surveys.  Non-benchmark jobs generally have been created to meet the needs of the University or work unit.

Salary grade – a clustering of jobs for pay purposes based on similar market value and/or role in the University.  Typically consists of minimum, midpoint and maximum salary levels

Salary structure – a set of salary grades

Sub-family – a sub-set of a job family that describes a specialized function. Examples include Audit, Accounting, and Tax (within Finance).

Supervise – to instruct subordinates in details of the work they perform (either directly or by enforcement of well-established rules) allot work, inspect outcomes and provide feedback to maintain or improve quality

Update factor – the factor used to trend salary survey data to a common effective date to facilitate benchmarking from different survey sources.