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Nov. 17, 2011 Volume 33, No. 13

First round of staff salary restructuring implemented


Study results in small pay raises for some student services employees

Following the results of a recent staff salary study, one in four employees in student services saw a small pay raise Sept. 1.

The 403 employees in the student support services jobs were part of a pilot project that analyzed job titles and salaries at the University of Missouri. Karen Touzeau, associate vice chancellor for human resource services, lead the review and presented her findings at the Staff Advisory Council meeting Thursday, Nov. 10.

She said the objective of the study was to ensure competitive pay and equity for staff members of the university. Although faculty pay rates are frequently measured against peer institutions, Touzeau said there was a lack of reliable information on how salaries stacked up for staff.

In the pilot study of jobs related to student services, Touzeau’s team aimed to streamline the pay scale structure by examining which job functions were comparable to each other. Subsequently, many job titles were renamed in order to group similar operations into the same category across campus.

Touzeau stressed to the council that the study was about job evaluation, not a strategy to eliminate jobs or cut costs.

“Job duties did not change, and organizational structure did not change,” she said. There were also no job eliminations or pay cuts. In fact, about 100 people who were previously getting paid below the minimum for peer organizations saw a small bump in their paychecks, amounting to about a $200,000 bill for the university.

“With the new system, all staff jobs will be evaluated using the same criteria and will be paid on the same pay range,” Touzeau said.

To establish a more organized pay scale, the team aimed to establish a system-wide hierarchy among job titles. They reviewed 120 job titles in 20 different campus divisions. The review did not involve employee-specific performance.

“It’s about the work, not the worker,” Touzeau said.

To determine the relative worth of each job, they looked at individual requisites such as knowledge, skills, abilities and the complexity of the assigned work.

Touzeau’s team established 17 pay ranges for these student support services jobs and hopes to soon consolidate job titles into several levels, e.g. Specialist, Director and Program Director, to provide a better career path.

“In the past, people would say the only way to get a raise would be to get a reclassification,” Touzeau said. Her team hopes that the new titles and scales will give employees the opportunity for advancement without reclassification.

For the next several months, Touzeau’s team will be similarly examining other areas of campus staff. They are looking at office administration titles next, and Touzeau said she expects the same adjustments.

“[We found] 127 distinct clerical titles, and I’m sure we don’t have 127 distinct clerical functions,” she said.  “All those titles will fall within five pay grades.”

Touzeau said she expects that all of the changes for staff jobs will be implemented in the next two years.

— Megan Cassidy