In 2007 the University of Washington retained the independent consulting firm of Milliman to conduct a total compensation survey of professional staff jobs. The University conducts a survey of professional staff compensation every two years to measure the competitiveness of professional staff salaries. However, 2007 was the first time the survey took a total compensation approach and considered the value of benefits.
Milliman analyzed salaries along with benefits to get a complete picture of the competitiveness of total compensation for the UW's professional staff population. The study compared UW benefits to those of a mix of 161 public and private sector northwest organizations. Of this comparison group, the UW's medical and dental benefits and professional staff retirement plan ranked above the 75th percentile.
As the report notes, while private sector employers usually offer incentive compensation in the form of bonuses, stock options or both, few northwest employers actually come close to matching the UW benefits package.
Salary data was collected from regional and national markets, as well as from the UW's peer institutions in higher education. An advisory committee of professional staff employees participated in the identification of peer organizations as well as in the selection and definitions of the benchmark positions used in the survey.
The consultant's analysis found that average compensation for the professional staff to be 4 percent behind the market. This is a marked improvement over 2005, when average professional staff compensation lagged behind the market by almost 9 percent.
It is anticipated that the next professional staff compensation survey will be conducted in 2009.
In 2005 when the survey was last done, the Puget Sound market was characterized by:
Market conditions have changed somewhat from the period when the survey was last done:
|Minimum wage (Washington)||$7.35||$7.93|
|Prevalence of variable pay (U.S.)||77%||79%|
|Median pay increase (Puget Sound)||3.5%||3.8%|
Improving economic conditions means:
The following chart illustrates the changes in market compensation over the past two and a half decades and shows the University's annual professional staff salary increase merit pool percentage for those years.
The fifty-six benchmark jobs, chosen by the UW Compensation Office, the Professional Staff Salary Survey Advisory Group (a committee of professional staff employees) and Milliman, provide a solid representation of benchmark positions within the University's grade structure and across job groups as summarized by the tables that follow.
The University's entire professional staff of 6,962 employees supports one of the nation's premier public research universities. There are 6,218 professional staff in grades 5 through 10 and 744 professional staff in grades 11 through 14. The University's teaching hospital is a leading health care provider in the region and nationally known for a number of its programs. The staff in this group provide expertise to support the University's teaching, research and public service mission.
For management and senior-level professional positions, the University generally recruits nationally while entry-level professionals are generally sourced regionally. This variation in recruitment is important in defining the labor market for such studies. Milliman would point out that at the current time, the cost of labor in the Puget Sound region is significantly higher than the national average so data from other organizations has been adjusted to reflect the difference.
The University, like other major organizations, recognizes the importance of hiring and retaining a highly talented staff. The cost of turnover can be significant with the cost equal to 25% to 50% of pay (a conservative estimate) per replacement. For positions in high demand or those with skills that are scarce in the marketplace, the cost of turnover can be significantly higher.
The University is limited in the value of its total compensation package by its inability to provide annual or long-term incentives. Historically the University has addressed this limitation by:
Benchmark Job Group
|Market Location||Competitive Position to
|Manager/Strategic Advisor||Market median total cash for peer institutions and general industry, when available||National market for grades 10 and above; regional for grades 9 and below||UW Average Base Salary vs. Market Median Total Cash|
|Development||Market median total cash for peer institutions||National markets|
|Public Information/Communications||Market median total cash for peer institutions and general industry, when available||Blend of national and regional data|
|Counselor/Student Services||Market median total cash for peer institutions and regional higher education institutions||Blend of national and regional data|
|Health Care||Market median total cash for health care organizations||National market for grades 11 and above; regional for grades 10 and below|
|Information Technology||Market median total cash for general industry||National market for grades 10 and above; regional for grades 9 and below|
|Research Scientific/Engineering||Market median total cash for peer institutions and general industry||National market|
Additionally, when making a national hire, the University is more challenged than many of its peer institutions because of its location. The cost of living in the greater Seattle area is 23% higher than the national average, according to Economic Research Institute data. Cost of living certainly impacts the decisions of potential employees from other parts of the country. While the cost of labor in Seattle is 13% higher than the national average and new recruits can make more dollars here than in many locations, the difference can present obstacles to recruiting.
While the above elements can impact recruitment, the University provides a number of significant attractions beyond direct compensation. These include a highly desirable location, the opportunity to work at a premier institution of higher education, a stimulating work environment, job security, and rich cultural experiences to name just a few.
This compensation analysis included a custom survey of institutions of higher education and the use of published survey data. Published data were primarily regional in nature while the custom survey included universities across the United States (global challenge peer institutions as well as the University's primary peer group).
|2007 UW Benchmark Group||Published
The following published surveys were used in this analysis:
|Clark Consulting Healthcare||Milliman NW Management & Professional|
|Clark Consulting Research||Milliman Puget Sound Regional|
|CUPA||Sullivan Cotter & Associates Healthcare Survey|
|Economic Research Institute Salary Assessor||Wamser Associates Foundations/Development Survey|
|Mercer Information Technology||Watson Wyatt Health Care|
|Mercer Metropolitan Benchmark||Watson Wyatt Information Technology|
|Millman NW Healthcare||Watson Wyatt Middle Management|
|Milliman NW Healthcare Executive||Watson Wyatt Office Personnel|
|Milliman Information Technology||Watson Wyatt Professional|
2007 Salary Survey