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May 23, 2003

P&S pay matrix will see no change this year

by Anne Krapfl
The pay matrix that guides Professional and Scientific salaries will not be adjusted for FY04, at least partly in response to a recommendation by the P&S Council to correct inequities in the matrix. Other suggestions from the council regarding compensation and P&S classification also will be reviewed in the next year.

In an April 29 memo to council president Rex Heer, vice president for business and finance Warren Madden noted that salary increase dollars available for FY04 aren't enough to adjust the matrix and move P&S salaries further along in the new matrix. He also said that the salaries of most P&S new hires this year were in the first one-third of the hiring range. These factors together indicate Iowa State could remain competitive in the market another year without making changes to the pay matrix, Madden wrote.

Last month, the council asked for phased, specific changes to the pay matrix to address 10 years of adjustments that have resulted in inequities among high and low P-level positions. When adjusted for inflation, "increases" to the pay matrix actually have resulted in negative changes to the P11 through P14 levels, where pay grade minimums and maximums run as low as 3.2 percent behind inflation. Pay grade minimums and maximums on P15 to P20-level jobs run as high as 12.4 percent ahead of inflation from the same adjustments.

Madden wrote that leaving the pay matrix where it is this year addresses another council concern: P&S salaries that fail to make much penetration into their pay grades, even over several years.

"We understand that freezing the matrix isn't a solution or an attempt to address the concerns the council presented in April," Heer said. "But it does buy some time to step back and say, 'What should be done for the long term, and what can be done in the short term, given the university's budget?'"

Heer also expressed appreciation for the administration's pledged attention to a list of issues raised by the council this spring.

Recommends study
Madden, who authored the memo on behalf of an administrative group that includes assistant vice president for human resource services Carla Espinoza, assistant provost Ellen Rasmussen and assistant vice president for business and finance Johnny Pickett, said the council's recommendation for a pay matrix shift would be studied this year, with an eye on making changes in FY05.

Other council requests that Madden said will be considered in the next year include:
  • A review of the whole P&S system, once it's determined what kind of review would be appropriate.
  • A policy for salary movement to the midpoint of a range, including whether it's reasonable to include the length of time it should take to get there, while keeping the focus on performance, not length of service.
  • A minimum reclassification salary increase (for reclassifications within the P&S system) above the current 5 percent.
  • When possible, one-of-a-kind P&S job titles ("single incumbents") merged into more generic titles.
  • A timeline for putting online job descriptions for classifications with multiple people in them.
  • More formalized career progression routes in the P&S system and better communication with employees about these options for advancement.
  • The option of adjusting new employees' salaries after the first 12 to 18 months (beyond annual salary increases).
  • Training or other tools for the managers who decide salary increases.
Madden noted that some of these requests, if appropriate for implementation, would require approval from other ISU administrators or even the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.

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