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Career Compass maps out its next stage

Non-represented staff to receive new titles and salary ranges by end of April

| 16 April 2009

All about Career Compass

More information about new job titles, grades, salary ranges, and reconsideration is available to managers, supervisors, and employees at Career Compass Open Sessions, which are being held regularly on Tuesdays, from 9 to 11 a.m. in University Hall on the following dates: April 21 and 28, May 12 and 26, and June 9 and 23. An additional session will be held Tuesday, May 5, from 9 to 11 a.m. in Sibley Auditorium in Bechtel Engineering Center.
The Vice Chancellor—Administration's office has also published a special issue of its InSights for Management newsletter that provides additional details on implementation of the Career Compass initiative's new job titles and salary structure and links to resources for managers and supervisors.
For information about Career Compass, visit

Career Compass, the campus's multifaceted workforce initiative, enters its next phase this month. All non-represented employees will receive a personalized letter from their manager or supervisor with a new job title, along with the salary range that applies to that position. The new information will make it possible for the first time to compare specific job titles and their pay levels to those in the external labor market.

"Even though we are implementing our new job structure at a time of economic uncertainty, employee pay will not change as a result of mapping to new job standards," says Jeannine Raymond, assistant vice chancellor for Human Resources. The new salary structure, however, will inform future salary decisions.

Raymond further clarifies that neither job responsibilities nor working titles will change as a result of mapping to the new titles employees' current responsibilities are now categorized by titles that more accurately reflect their duties and make more sense in today's labor market. What this next phase of Career Compass will bring is "greater clarity around job requirements, market-pay levels for our jobs, competencies required to succeed in different jobs on campus, and improved tools to help manage performance," says Raymond.

Human Resources began the Career Compass initiative eight years ago to update Berkeley's outmoded job-classification system and improve career-development opportunities. Last year, managers and supervisors reviewed and matched more than 5,000 non-represented-employee positions to new Career Compass titles. The Career Compass structure consists of 20 job fields encompassing 129 related job families, under which there are nearly 700 job descriptions.

Human Resources, in consultation with campus peer advisory committees, approved more than two-thirds of the mapping recommendations, and will implement them by May 1. HR's Compensation unit changed the remainder of the mapping recommendations to a different job title, field, or family based on the job description submitted by managers or supervisors to departmental mapping coordinators, generally because the position was inadequately described or its responsibilities fit better in another job family or title.

In some cases, an employee and manager may feel the new job title doesn't reflect the duties or scope of the position. The manager can submit an updated job description through the departmental mapping coordinator. The reconsideration period is scheduled for July. However, if the job description that was initially submitted accurately reflects the work the employee performs, then reconsideration should not be pursued, according to Rich Lau, Human Resources' compensation director.

Information for the future

This next phase of the Career Compass initiative will provide Human Resources with critical new employment information as occupationally specific job titles replace generic ones. In the former classification system 40 percent of non-represented staff had job titles that could not be easily compared with those in the off-campus local labor market. For example, 240 employees formerly classified as "Principal Administrative Analyst" have now been mapped to more than 20 different, more specific job titles in the new structure.

In addition, the campus will use the data gathered to identify job fields and families that have the largest numbers of employees eligible for retirement. Such information will aid in succession planning. The campus will also be able to use training resources to support staff in key job fields and families.

Parsing pay range

As part of the Career Compass initiative, new salary range midpoints have been developed to reflect the median pay level for comparable jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area. During this process, Human Resources gleaned the following information:

  • Sixty-seven percent of the campus's non-represented employees will see an increase in their salary-range midpoint now that it reflects the external labor market.
  • On average, the salary midpoints will be 15 percent higher than in the previous structure.
  • On average, Berkeley staff are paid 93 percent of their salary-range midpoints (compensation specialists consider pay levels to be "at market" when they fall between 95 to 100 percent of the range's midpoint).
  • Current pay levels for non-represented staff range between 2 to 7 percent below market. The estimated cost to bring employee-salary levels to market would be between 6 to 9 percent of payroll. Although this cost is significant, it is considerably less than previous UC Office of the President estimates that indicated the cost to bring employee-salary levels to market for the system as a whole would be closer to 10 to 15 percent of payroll.
  • Previous Berkeley equity adjustments that targeted employees whose pay was lowest relative to their peers, or who were in jobs with the highest turnover, have helped the campus make significant progress toward bringing staff to market rates. (Over the last three years, the UC Regents approved $5.1 million to be paid to non-represented career staff employees at Berkeley to bring their salaries closer to market rates.)
  • On average, the value of UC's health, welfare, and pension programs significantly exceed those offered by other Bay Area employers, says Lau. With salaries and benefits, UC's total compensation is above market rate.

Data on all employee positions will be in the campus's new Human Capital Management (HCM) system on May 1.

The sweeping change has caught the attention of other UC campuses, universities, and private employers, who would like to know more about the new job structure. Says Raymond, "Our efforts have not gone unnoticed."