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Compensation FAQs

What survey data does Human Resources use to measure salaries for positions?

The Human Resources department participates in numerous surveys both within and outside higher education in order to keep current with the labor market. Surveys used within higher education include CUPA (College University Professional Association) which has over 300 positions and 1,400 participating institutions. Local and national surveys used by the department for information outside of higher education include EduComp, Economic Research Institute, Kenexa, and Sullivan-Cotter. These surveys present an informed picture of the labor markets for staff positions and allows the College to continue providing a competitive rate of pay.

How is our pay grade structure created?

Swarthmore has many staff positions with a wide range of skills and responsibilities. We use a fairly typical evaluation system to analyze positions and to organize them into position classifications. Our position classification system helps to maintain an internal sense of fairness in compensating widely varying positions. Also, since the College has some unique positions not readily found in the labor market, our system helps in creating a salary grade for those positions. Positions are evaluated using a number of potential factors, including education, experience, organizational impact, complexity of skills, and supervisory responsibilities. In the context of these factors, similar positions are grouped together into the same pay grades.

What is a pay grade?

Pay grades have a "range" of pay that is appropriate for the types of positions in that group. The pay range reflects the overall value of those positions to the College, as well as local, regional, and national salary information that is studied by Swarthmore each year. The College adjusts the pay grades as needed to maintain its competitiveness within the marketplace.

What is the process under which a position can be reclassified to a higher pay grade?

When there is a significant change in the responsibilities of an employee's position, a supervisor may request a review of the position. A "reclassification", or change in grade status, may occur when Human Resources agrees the position has significantly changed in terms of responsibility, knowledge, skills required, and decision-making complexity. Human Resources will make determinations considering factors such as external market data and internal position comparisons. The result of a "reclassification" may lead to a salary adjustment in grade or a grade increase and salary adjustment. In instances where an individual's salary is above the marketplace, a reclassification may not lead to a salary increase.

In limited circumstances, a position "reclassification" may lead to a lower salary grade for a position. This lower salary grade may occur from a department or college wide reorganization. In the event of a lower "reclassification" of a position, a determination of an appropriate salary will be resolved on a case-by-case basis. This policy also includes an individual voluntarily transferring to a vacant position with a lower grade, which also may result in a lesser salary.

Will I still receive an annual raise if my position is reclassified?

A person receiving a reclassification may be eligible for the annual raise. Though the practice has been an annual increase on July 1 of each year, the College can never guarantee an annual raise because decisions about compensation levels are based on economic and market conditions and on organizational needs.

What is the typical pay increase with a promotion?

There is no typical increase for a promotion.  However, the increase can be influenced by many factors including the individual's current salary level, internal equity, market data and the individuals overall experience

What is the typical pay increase with a lateral transfer?

Generally, there is no increase with a lateral transfer. In some instances where a person is paid lower than the market or the internal comparison group, an adjustment may be considered.

What is the difference between exempt and nonexempt?

Exempt employees are salaried and non-exempt are compensated on an hourly basis for their work, and therefore eligible for overtime.