The University strives to attract, motivate, engage and retain talented staff to support UNM’s various missions. An employee’s salary is an important part of the University’s total rewards package and, for this reason, it is essential for managers to carefully consider how an employee’s salary aligns with their relative qualifications and ability to fulfill the University’s business needs. Additionally, managers must ensure University funds are allocated in a prudent manner that will yield the greatest benefit to UNM.
With these principles in mind, the University will implement a new Salary Placement and Equity Tool designed to:
- Enhance department flexibility in determining starting pay
- Acknowledge the value of an individual’s education and experience as it relates to their job
- Establish methods for consistently administering pay across Level 3 organizations
- Expand opportunities for triggering pay adjustments, where needed
- Align University processes with industry-leading practices
The following changes will apply to:
- New hire salaries
- Career ladders
- Voluntary transfers to lower-level positions
The following changes will not apply to salary changes as the result of retention offers, counter offers, or in-range salary adjustments.
Methodology for Salary Placement
All staff job classifications have a designated salary grade within the UNM Staff Salary Structure. To determine the appropriate grade, HR Compensation evaluates the market rate for a specific position and designates a grade based on that rate and other internal factors.
For instance, a “Widget Maker” job classification with a market value of $35,000 would be assigned to Grade 8. Grade 8 has a pay range of $24,211.20-$46,009.60 with a midpoint of $35,110.40. The midpoint closely matches the market rate.
The Salary Placement and Equity Tool (SPET) is designed to look at an employee’s related education and relevant experience to determine where they should be paid within the salary range associated with their classification’s grade. Salary Placement principles indicate that employees with fewer qualifications should be paid lower in the range, whereas employees with greater qualifications in that same classification should be paid higher in the range.
Using the example above, a department may seek to hire Jane Doe into the “Widget Maker” classification. Jane has 2 years of experience beyond the minimum qualifications of the job, so the Salary Placement Tool suggests a salary rate between Minimum and First Quartile of the Grade 8 salary range ($24,211.20-$29,660.80). The department may pay Jane Doe anywhere between the range produced by the Salary Placement and Equity Tool.
Methodology for Equity
When employees have similar qualifications and perform similar work, their pay should be relatively equal. For this reason, the Salary Placement and Equity Tool looks at all incumbents in the same job classification within a Level 3 organization (i.e. School/College/Division level) to determine when a pay adjustment is necessary to maintain equity between similarly qualified employees. If a potential inequity may occur, the Salary Placement and Equity Tool will prompt the department to adjust an employee(s)’s pay to mitigate the potential inequity.
At minimum, the current incumbent’s new pay rate must match the salary of the new hire/employee undergoing a salary change. At most, the department may pay the current incumbent at the top end of a calculated range that accounts for the incumbent’s related education and experience.
Exceptions to Salary Placement Range
On occasion, a department may wish to pay an employee at a rate greater than the identified salary range produced by the Salary Placement and Equity Tool. In these cases, a justification must be submitted to the Division of Human Resources for review prior to the employee’s hire and/or change in salary. For more information, contact HR Compensation at email@example.com.
In order to implement this new process, the following actions are underway:
- Evaluation and update of University Administrative Policies and HR Compensation Guidelines
- Creation and Testing of the Salary Placement and Equity Tool
- Centralization of data regarding employee education and experience
- Discussions with collective bargaining units
- Shift to administering equity at the Level 3 organizational level*
- Final implementation of the new tool, policies, and procedures
Several organizations are participating in a pilot program to ensure effective implementation of the new Salary Placement and Equity methodology, including:
- Anderson School of Management
- College of Arts and Sciences (Department of Biology, Institute for Social Research, and Earth Data and Analysis Center)
- College of Education and Human Sciences
- College of Pharmacy
- Controller’s Division
- HSC Administration
- HSC Vice President for Research
- Information Technologies
- Institutional Support Services (Residence Life & Student Housing, and Parking & Transportation Services)
- School of Engineering
- School of Medicine (OBGYN, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Pediatrics, and UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center)
- Student Affairs
- Valencia Branch Campus
- Vice President for Research
The pilot program will occur from January 2021 – early 2022, with the intent of implementing the new practice across the entire campus by spring 2022.
*Some organizations may be excluded from the Level 3 equity review during the course of the pilot; however, efforts are underway to ensure all organizations at the University are able to transition to Level 3 equity reviews upon completion of the pilot program, where possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. This Salary Placement and Equity methodology pertains to staff only. Additionally, the methodology will not apply to to temporary and on-call positions, or positions in broadband grades, such as grades 90, 93, 95, or 99.
Qualifications not directly tied to job-related education and experience may be considered by the department when determining an appropriate salary level within the calculated salary placement range provided by the tool. An out-of-range justification may be submitted if the department identifies the need to pay the employee at a rate higher than the range calculated by the tool, in order to acknowledge the individual’s additional qualifications. An out-of-range justification should include all information relevant to the rationale for the request.
It is important for the University to evaluate and address equity in a consistent manner. For this reason, all efforts should be made to ensure organizations are able to respond to inequities that may occur within their Level 3 organization. The Division of Human Resources will consult with organizational leaders in situations where budgetary restrictions limit the capacity to address equity, with the intent to support fair and equitable pay practices within the organization.
Participants in the pilot program will follow the Salary Placement and Equity methodology outlined on this webpage, rather than current Compensation Guidelines. Information regarding appropriate processes, procedures, and guidelines pertaining to SPET pilot participants is disseminated to designated HR Agents for each participating org. If your organization is listed as a pilot participant above, contact your respective HR Agent for up-to-date information on how the SPET should be applied for your organization.
The current Compensation Guidelines will continue to apply to all organizations outside the pilot group until the new Salary Placement and Equity methodology is implemented across the University (anticipated spring 2022).
Updates will be made to guidance within all Compensation Guidelines regarding salary placement and equity administration. For instance, Compensation Guidelines currently stipulate that an individual reclassified to a higher-level classification may receive a salary increase up to 10% per grade, not to exceed 20%. Once the Salary Placement and Equity methodology is implemented, an individual undergoing a reclassification may be paid anywhere within a calculated salary range associated with their job-related education and experience. This may equate to a small increase (less than 10%) or a significant increase, dependent on the employee’s current pay level and appropriate salary placement.
Additionally, Compensation Guidelines will be updated to ensure equity is evaluated whenever an employee moves into a new classification, whether by hire, reclassification, career ladder, or voluntary transfer to a lower level position.
Yes. University Administrative Policy (UAP) 3500: Wage and Salary Administration will be updated to reflect the new Salary Placement and Equity methodology. All edits will be available for review and public comment prior to implementation.