Staff Compensation Philosophy
The Staff Compensation Review Steering Committee (CRC) was formed in the spring of 2001 at the request of President Al Bloom to review staff compensation practices. The committee members drafted a philosophy regarding staff compensation that was approved by the President and Board of Managers.
The purpose of Swarthmore College, as stated in the College Bulletin, is to enable Swarthmore students to become more valuable human beings and more useful members of society by helping them realize their fullest intellectual potential and developing in them a deep sense of social and ethical concern. This mission is accomplished primarily through a rigorous academic program conducted in an intimate residential setting. Swarthmore's reputation as one of the nation's pre-eminent small liberal arts colleges derives both from its academic excellence and from the intentional campus community that has been created to support students and faculty as they pursue the educational enterprise.
The staff of Swarthmore College is integral to the fulfillment of the mission of the College. The staff creates and maintains the infrastructure that supports the educational experience and allows faculty and students to pursue their intellectual interests. Many staff members are also directly involved with students through counseling, teaching, and providing housing and dining services. Like the faculty, the staff at Swarthmore need to be among the finest in their professions. Because we are a small community, when even one staff member performs below the level needed, it affects many - and can have a direct impact on the quality of the educational experience. Equally as important as superior knowledge and skills is the employee's commitment to the institution, and the interpersonal skills he/she brings to the institution.
Therefore, our compensation system must support the hiring and retention of excellent employees, and our culture must challenge them to contribute in meaningful ways to the mission of the College. Our compensation system should also be fair and non-discriminatory, and easy to administer. Additionally, we recognize that it is the combined efforts of all employed by the College, faculty and staff, that allows Swarthmore to maintain its pre-eminent position. Therefore, our compensation goals for faculty and staff should be comparable.
In order to attract and retain high caliber staff, we must be vigilant that our wages and benefits are competitive with other employers. Each job at Swarthmore has a natural "market" that can be used for this comparison, which is defined as the market from which we recruit for that particular job. We must be committed to making market adjustments to ensure we do not slip behind the market. Working at Swarthmore has many intangible benefits that add to its attractiveness as an employer. Staff at Swarthmore value their co-workers, the jobs they do, the college atmosphere, the resources available and the benefit package. These are valuable resources that should be preserved and developed, as research tells us a compelling place to work is as important as competitive wages.
However, Swarthmore College's attractiveness as a place to work should never be used as a reason to offer sub-market wages. Rather, the quality of staff work life available at the College should be used as a strategic advantage in attracting the best possible staff. Continuing development of the culture and staff environment will help in recruitment and retention efforts. We recognize that there will be performance differences among employees and believe it is important to recognize superior contributions by linking pay to performance. Seniority, when combined with good performance, brings a special value to the College. Long-term high performing employees should be among the highest paid employees in their comparison group, and their longevity should be recognized in tangible ways.
As stated in the purpose statement, Swarthmore is known for its deep sense of social and ethical concern. To fulfill our desire to help create a more just and humane world, the College should devote additional resources to those staff members who work in our lowest paying jobs.