The Georgia Institute of Technology is committed to a Compensation Program for research faculty employees that is externally competitive, internally equitable, promotes retention of good performers and encourages exceptional performance. To this end, the program has been designed to attract and retain the quality and quantity of research faculty personnel required to collectively meet Institute objectives.
Compensation Administration Responsibilities
The Research Faculty Employment unit of the Office of Human Resources (OHR) will be responsible for:
- Developing and administering compensation policy and procedures applicable to research faculty personnel.
- Monitoring and reporting on external markets relative to internal compensation practices.
- Reviewing pay related transactions for research faculty personnel to ensure consistency with published policy.
- Researching and analyzing published compensation survey data to ensure that proposed salary offers to candidates for open research positions as well as the pay practices for current research faculty are reasonable.
Starting Pay Rates
Education and Job Related Direct Experience
Each open research faculty position is posted with specific requirements for level of education and the number of years of direct job related experience.
Assessment of an individual's qualifications begins with a review of the resume and application to determine the appropriateness of the proposed title and to determine if job qualifications are met.
The results of an assessment of an individual's education, skills and experience as well as job responsibilities ultimately determine the pay rate that will be offered upon employment.
In determining the appropriateness of a salary offer, data from the most recent Watson Wyatt Survey Reports is referenced. These reports cover professional, middle and top management compensation paid in various markets., The data is compared to the proposed candidate’s degree level, degree major, and years since first degree, experience, knowledge, and responsibilities of the position being filled.
Starting pay rates for new employees as well as those being promoted to a new position are normally set between the 25th percentile, and 75th percentile of survey data reported based on that individual employee’s credentials. The positioning within that range is dependent upon the amount of directly related job experience beyond the basic job requirements that the incumbent brings to the job, as well as market demand for that individual's expertise and credentials.
Processing Offer Rates
A candidate's proposed offer rate will be included in the hiring package when it is forwarded by the hiring department/HR Representative to OHR. The offer rate will be reviewed by OHR – Research Faculty Employment. This review will determine whether the offer is within the hiring range as defined in this policy and appropriate to the candidate’s education and experience or if it exceeds those guidelines.
If OHR – Research Faculty Employment determines that the offer rate is within the guidelines, the hiring package is routed to the Vice Provost for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies for approval. If not, the hiring package is forwarded to OHR - Compensation for further review.
OHR – Compensation will conduct an analysis of the offer relative to guidelines and special circumstances, usually including a discussion with the hiring department. OHR - Compensation will then document the analysis and forward to OHR – Research Faculty Employment with recommendation for approval or disapproval.
OHR – Research Faculty Employment notifies the hiring department that either an exception is in order or that there appears to be no justification for the rate exceeding guidelines. Any appeals from the hiring department are routed to the Associate Vice President - Human Resources for disposition with the department and the Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies.
Offers should not be extended until all required approvals have been obtained. Every effort will be taken to ensure the review process occurs in a timely manner.
Participating in and analyzing the results of compensation surveys is the primary means of monitoring the competitiveness of pay rates for research faculty personnel. Through this process, pay rates of research faculty personnel are systematically compared to appropriate external markets on an annual basis. The purpose of these comparisons is to ensure that the Institute’s pay practice is maintained at competitive levels and where this is determined not to be the case, to take corrective action as appropriate.
Compensation comparisons are accomplished through a process of job mapping. Research faculty employees whose job assignments in terms of discipline, educational level, work experience and work assignment are similar to or essential the same as those contained in external survey organizational models and job descriptions are matched up or mapped. This process can apply to several research faculty personnel being mapped to a single survey job description or an single employee’s job duties mapped to a single survey job description.
As these matches are made, the pay rates of Institute research personnel are compared to the median of the survey job match within an appropriate market and differences noted. In this process, care is taken to ensure, to the extent possible, the appropriateness of the market to which comparison is made. Given that the source for attracting new and experienced research personnel may cover multiple geographic areas and organizational types, the national market for all survey participants is generally referenced for comparison purposes. Additionally, the compensation comparison process may include supplemental analyses related to additional cash compensation and benefits values associated with research personnel relative to comparable external market data. The results of the comparison process is summarized in tabular and report form and incorporated in the written report on Institute compensation referenced in Section 4.2 – Compensation Program Review and Approval.
A promotion normally occurs during the annual research faculty peer reviewed promotion process. The annual promotion process is scheduled in conjunction with the beginning of the fiscal year (July 1). In any case, an established set of hiring or promotion criteria determines the research faculty title category, i.e., research engineer/scientist/technologist/associate, and level, i.e., I/II/Senior/Principal, to which the faculty member may be elevated.
A merit adjustment may occur as a result of the demonstration of performance relative to job expectations as determined through an annual evaluation. The merit adjustment funding is a result of the actions of the General Assembly and Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Merit adjustments are awarded on an annual basis following legislative and Board of Regents approval. There are no strict guidelines regarding the amount of merit increase that should be associated with a given level of performance. However, it is strongly encouraged that significant differences in performance should yield significant differences in reward.
A lateral transfer occurs when an employee is moved to a research faculty position with the same level as the one previously assigned. The reasons for such action are: 1) a simple transfer from one position to another of the same level, particularly when funding ceases to exist in the position previously assigned, 2) the employee has bid for a research faculty position of the same level they currently occupy but in a different department 3) placement in a temporary assignment. Any requests for lateral pay adjustments should be referred to the Office of Human Resources prior to completing a PSF.
Normally pay adjustments are not made as a result of a lateral transfer. Only in cases of extenuating circumstances will an adjustment be considered.
Other Pay Adjustments
Other pay adjustments include those for market equity, increased responsibilities and interim assignments. Requests for these type adjustments should be made in memo form to the Office of Human Resources and include an explanation of why the adjustment is necessary and, in the case of market equity, comparable survey titles matching the position in question.
Processing Pay Adjustments
Processing Pay Adjustments (other than annual merit)
Pay adjustments other than merit adjustments include transfers to interim positions, market adjustments, or acceptance of additional responsibilities and duties, etc.
For these pay adjustments a Personal Services Form (PSF) and justification letter should be completed by the individual's supervisor, approved by appropriate unit management and routed to OHR – Research Faculty Employment.
OHR- Research Faculty Employment will conduct an analysis of the requested adjustment relative to job responsibilities, market and internal equity and may require review by OHR – Compensation. Approval is then sought from the Office of the President, notification sent to the Board of Regents and forwarded to Payroll for processing.
For pay adjustments that do not appear to be supported by market survey data, OHR- Research Faculty Employment or Compensation will contact the unit's Human Resources Representative and discuss the proposed adjustment. This will take in to account not only the market data but also the individual’s credentials and experience. Adjustments that can not be resolved at this stage require final resolution by the Associate Vice President of Human Resources and if necessary, the Vice-Provost for Research as designee for the President.
Pay adjustments are not to be discussed with the employee until all necessary approvals are obtained.
Processing Pay Adjustments (annual merit)
Annual merit adjustments are not processed using the PSF. The Budget Office is responsible for gathering, monitoring and routing documentation associated with these adjustments to Payroll.
Communicating Annual Merit Pay Adjustments
The supervisor should notify the employee in writing that the adjustment is forthcoming. This should occur no later than the effective date of the increase. A copy of the memo should be sent to OHR-Records for inclusion in the employee's personnel file.