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The project mission was clear: Update the nearly 25-year-old staff classification system to reflect evolving technology and the changing faces of work to continue to recruit and retain the best talent. The initiative, the Compensation Modernization Project, enhances the University’s compensation and career infrastructure for staff positions by building a new University-wide job catalog, aligning compensation ranges across job levels to market data and defining potential career advancement opportunities.
Leading this effort is James W. Gallaher Jr., vice chancellor for human resources at Pitt. He emphasized the University’s continued commitment to the project, as well as its future benefits, noting, “A robust, fully integrated staff job structure provides supervisors and hiring managers broader University-wide and market view comparisons, which ultimately benefits all employees.”
Gallaher noted the current staff classification system has been in place since 1999. “Over time, the University and the market have evolved, and the current classification system has remained stagnant, limiting the ability for flexibility, mobility, recruitment, retention and career development,” he said.
The multiyear project timeline includes three phases to classify thousands of staff positions, develop the new system and provide appropriate training before implementation.
Phase one, development of the new job structure, included assessment of job feedback questionnaires, market studies and job analyses in areas across the University, as well as feedback from Pitt community members. Additionally, a job catalog containing approximately 1,300 unique roles was created, including compensation ranges aligned with market data. Final job mapping will be completed this month, which will provide supervisors and staff visibility into how roles are classified and related to one another.
This summer, the University will enter phase two and implement the structure across Pitt Worx and Talent Center, transitioning from the current staff classification system to the comprehensive new job catalog. While this project is not a pathway to guarantee changes in pay, a new cross-functional Compensation Modernization Steering Committee will recommend overarching strategies to support internal pay equity, market competitiveness and fiscal responsibility in phase two. Additionally, unit leaders and hiring managers will have a complete view of market values for job types across the University to inform unit and role-specific adjustments over time. The Compensation Modernization Project is part of Pitt’s continuing efforts to retain its highly valued staff and attract the best talent, so no salaries will decrease, even if data shows some positions are compensated above market value.
Lastly, in phase three, Pitt will develop and deploy employee roadmaps to aid employees in identifying future potential career pathways throughout the University. Staff will be given access to new resources through career ladders, guiding employees through potential upward career paths based on their current positions. New job architecture and career development resources will also provide visibility into lateral options staff can pursue, diversifying their experience at Pitt. Importantly, supervisors will also have access to this information to support and discuss career development and growth plans with their employees.
“Compensation Modernization is a University-wide collaboration in the fullest sense. Staff administration personnel from across all units dedicated many hours reviewing the job catalog and job mappings and provided us with valuable feedback that shaped the final product,” said Shahfar Shaari, Compensation Modernization Project lead. “Our collective effort will benefit staff for years to come by allowing more agility to adapt to market conditions and more flexibility in career and reward decisions.”
Gallaher acknowledged there have been many questions about the project, its purpose and lengthy timeline, but he reassured staff that this strategy is both integral to The Plan for Pitt: Our People pillar and part of the University’s commitment to employee retention, development and growth. “The University’s job mapping structure is the foundation for how we hire, pay, develop and advance our workforce. The Compensation Modernization Project provides this vital foundation and is an important step to convey the wide variety of available opportunities, roles and career paths, helping employees maximize their potential at Pitt,” he said.
Some common questions include:
- Who does this initiative apply to? This initiative applies to nonrepresented staff employees at Pitt.
- Will my duties change? This project will not impact an employee’s role, responsibilities or areas of focus. It simply groups similar job roles throughout the University for equity and consistency.
- Will I be able to review results? Yes, the job catalog and salary ranges will be available online at the end of phase two.
- How did you review my job description? The University used a Job Analysis Questionnaire (JAQ) or your current job description if there were changes, as well as multiple external and internal review touchpoints throughout this process including administrators and leaders in employees’ units.
- More questions? Contact the Office of Human Resources’ Compensation Modernization team.